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Starting XI: Manchester City vs. Manchester United

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The Reds need a little of that PSG comeback magic

Manchester United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup: Semi Final Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs. Manchester United:

(1) In the first leg of this Carabao Cup semifinal, Manchester City brushed aside the Reds in a 3-1 victory at Old Trafford. Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and an Andreas Pereira own goal staked City to a 3-0 lead, before Marcus Rashford pulled one back in the 70th minute. Without that Rashford goal, this tie would be all but over.

(2) Both Manchester clubs were in FA Cup action on Sunday, with United smashing Tranmere Rovers 6-0 and City doing much the same to Fulham. The Reds showed no mercy at Prenton Park, cutting open the League One outfit at will en route to a lopsided win. While some might quibble at celebrating a victory over lower-league opposition, United desperately needed this to dispel some of the negativity currently engulfing the club.

(3) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes at the weekend — drafting Sergio Romero, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelöf, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, and Mason Greenwood into the starting eleven. Plus, even regulars like Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matić got the second half off. Expect a full-strength (injuries excluded) side for Wednesday’s trip to the Etihad.

(4) Pep Guardiola did Ole two better by making eight changes for the Fulham match, including giving game time to youngsters Phil Foden and Eric Garcia. One surprise omission, though, was Aymeric Laporte, who just returned from a five-month absence last week. City insist that’s just normal rotation, so keep an eye on whether Laporte makes the squad on Wednesday. Other regulars like Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, and and Raheem Sterling will be back for the United match.

(5) Guardiola on the need for rotation:

For the United game, I will play players who don’t play against Fulham. I am a guy who rotates quite a lot, to try to keep everybody involved.

After Fulham, we have three days, then four days to the Tottenham game, then seven days to West Ham, after that 13 days to Leicester. There is not much time to make people rest. Hopefully, it isn’t going to happen, but there is time for a player to get injured. For us, another player will play. It’s the only thing I can do.

(6) Like United, City breezed through to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Any suspense in their match against Fulham ended with a sixth-minute red card for Cottagers defender Tim Ream. Ilkay Gundogan scored the ensuing penalty, Bernardo Silva doubled their lead about ten minutes later, and then Gabriel Jesus finished it off with a second-half brace.

(7) Speaking of Jesus...

(8) Manchester United have actually won two of their last three at the Etihad. Just last month, the Reds shocked City with a 2-1 win behind goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Before that, in April 2018, United completed a furious 3-2 comeback with three second-half goals on a day when anything less would have seen City win the Premier League. Let’s hope United add a third memorable Etihad moment on Wednesday.

(9) Solskjaer on how a positive mentality paid dividends at Tranmere:

We made sure, before the game, we had the right attitude. Go out there and do the job. Everyone is waiting for us to fail because it’s set up for that. They were excellent, the players. Of course, early on, they had a little burst in the first few minutes. We stood up well against it and when you score three goals in 15 minutes you’re delighted. Different scorers, which also is good, confidence spread around, clean sheet, we scored on a set play, so loads of positives.

(10) On Sunday, Mason Greenwood joined some elite company with his tenth goal of the season:

(11) As he’s been wont to do over the years, Guardiola questioned the dedication of City supporters and made clear that he expects better on Wednesday:

Today was not full — I don’t know why. [Wednesday] is a chance to come back to Wembley for three years in a row. Hopefully our fans can come, more people than today. Hopefully they can support us more and make an intelligent game to reach the final.