So it turns out that the League Cup -- a.k.a. the whichever sponsor has decided that it fancies a little bit of football exposure, currently "Capital One" Cup -- has a second round before the third one. Who knew? This is like one of those films where the princess escapes from the castle just before the evil vizier's troops storm the place, then wakes up in the morning to realise that ordinary people have to make their own toast.
For last season's failure to qualify for Europe requires United to enter this season's competition a round earlier than usual. And United's adventure in this new, unfamiliar world will be a visit to the home of everybody's favourite club, the Milton Keynes Dons. Yes, it's a sad, distressing parody of what a club should be, an offence against everything that's good and pure and righteous about football ... against the MK Dons.
Little joke for you there.
Anyway, it'll be perhaps the first time in recent history that United will enter a game as the neutrals' favourite, so that'll be fun. The last time United went into the league cup at this stage was back in 1995, when lowly little York City rolled up to Old Trafford, won 3-0, and ended up going through 4-3 on aggregate.