The second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal between Manchester City and Manchester United will take place tonight at the Etihad stadium. The home side has a healthy advantage of 3:1 and the Red Devils looked doomed.
And yet, there’s no away goals rule in the League Cup, so any victory by two goals would be enough to force an extra-time.
In this betting preview, I will analyse the chances of both sides based on the odds and share my best betting pick.
I expected to see some transfers in January by Manchester City, because the team’s defense has been a mess. There were no deals so far and no credible rumors. I guess that Pep Guardiola will be relying on the returning Aymeric Laporte.
A similar decision not to buy another central defender in the summer has been costly so far but it seems like the Spanish manager is not willing to spend in the winter.
That means that Manchester City’s defense could remain vulnerable times by the end of this campaign. The English reigning champions have let too many goals at times, including their previous meeting with Manchester United at the Etihad.
The Red Devils won by 2-1 in December and will be hoping to get better tonight. I believe this will be a tough task because Guardiola found a way to break their defense in the first Carabao Cup clash.
The boss used Bernardo Silva as a fake nine and he often created an advantage in numbers for City in key areas of the pitch.
I expect a similar strategy from Guardiola and unless Solskjaer has prepared an answer, the hosts should have plenty of chances to find the net.
The form of Manchester United since the start of the season has been inconsistent. There were periods that looked strong and I thought they have turned it around. They were almost always followed by an embarrassing defeat like the one against Burnley at home just a week ago.
Solskjer is struggling to find the right balance and you can often see the team toothless up front or leaking too many goals.
The injury of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba’s delayed return aren’t helping the side. The board was forced the club to splash the cash and we will likely witness the arrival of Sporting’s midfielder Bruno Fernandes in the next several days.
The Portuguese won’t be there against City, though, so I don’t expect too much from Manchester United. The club did have a great game at the Etihad in the Premier League but it should be different this time around.
There was no pressure to perform back then, while the team has to make up for a deficit of two goals after the first leg. Rashford is out and it seems like Pep has figured out the defense of the Red Devils.
Prediction and Betting Pick
I believe that Manchester City is the heavy favorite here and most betting sites agree with my opinion. They offer a price of around 3/10 for the hosts which is too low to make sense. Instead, I recommend the -1 goals handicap option available for 5/6 or so.
Manchester City is likely to create more chances either way and United will have to try to attack as the game progresses. This will open a lot of space for the home side and it could get ugly at the end.
Pick: Manchester City -1 European Handicap