Bring it on. Minutes after defeating Colchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Manchester United learned their opponents for the Carabao Cup semi-finals. Predictably, United got the toughest possible draw: crosstown rivals Manchester City.
City also dispatched lower level opposition on Wednesday, beating Oxford United by 3 goals to 1. The Blues have won the competition for the last two years in a row, and both clubs are unlikely to field significantly weakened teams in the next round. For United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already noted the importance of a young team winning their first trophy together, and the Norwegian will be chomping at the bit to earn silverware in his first full season as manager. For City, with the Premier League title almost surely out of reach already, a clean sweep of the cups would be a nice consolation.
The semi-final will take place over two legs - the first will be at Old Trafford on January 6th, and the second at the Etihad Stadium on January 27th.
The winner of next month’s semi-final edition of the Manchester derby will face either Aston Villa (who beat a shadow Liverpool team on Tuesday) or Leicester City (who beat Everton on penalties) in the final at Wembley.