8 January 2020
Manchester United welcome fierce cross-town rivals Manchester City to Old Trafford for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash.
After securing back-to-back triumphs that have both come via a margin of multiple goals, the hosts have endured a drop-off in form, drawing a blank in both of their previous competitive outings (D1, L1). Still, the Red Devils have been impressive on home turf this season, especially since a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace back in August. They have racked up a 13-game unbeaten home run in all competitions ever since (W8, D5), restricting their opponents to a maximum of one goal per match in all but one of those occasions. But, United have endured mixed fortunes in their last five competitive home H2Hs with City (W2, D1, L2), with both of their defeats across those clashes coming via the identical 2-1 scoreline. A potential worry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is that his men have shipped the opening goal in three of their previous five home games against the domestic rivals, even though they’ve pulled off comeback wins in two of such fixtures (W2, D1).
As for the visitors, they come into this meeting after picking up three consecutive wins in all competitions, scoring precisely two second-half goals in each of those successes. Also, the Citizens have put together four successive away victories before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat to Wolverhampton that has nonetheless seen Pep Guardiola’s men score over 1.5 goals per away fixture in six straight competitive road trips. Although they are considered pre-match favorites, the reigning Premier League holders have struggled to impress the neighbors recently. They have sustained two defeats in their last four competitive H2Hs, home and away, with three of those encounters producing over 2.5 goals and seeing both teams score. Guardiola’s players are unlikely to keep a clean sheet here either, as they’ve conceded at least one goal in seven of their last eight competitive away games.
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