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Manchester Derby Team News ahead of EFL Cup Semi-final

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Manchester City will face United at Old Trafford tonight in the EFL Cup Semi-finals.

The two teams are meeting in two consecutive years in the EFL Cup semi-finals, and both of them are coming into the game with Premier League wins last weekend.

Guardiola: City doesn’t have enough players for Cup semis

Pep Guardiola 210105 Training G 1050 1
Pep Guardiola © Gallo Images

Ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola is concerned about not having enough players due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak at the Etihad.

“We don’t have many players,” said Guardiola in an interview with Sky Sports. “To play one, two games is okay, but if sustained for a long time – and you can use just 14 or 15 players – it will be more difficult.

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“But… we have to adjust as much as possible. We don’t have an alternative. The important thing is the guys who have Covid recover well and the others try to avoid it as much as possible.”

“It looks like we are an island inside the society. It’s like everything is locked down except ourselves,” Guardiola added.

“They (players) have to be careful of what they do. Social distance, be careful and be lucky because even doing as best as possible, there are risks.”

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The impact of the Covid-19 virus also resulted in the postponement of City’s game against Everton. Other PL clubs that have been affected by the outbreak include Fulham, Newcastle United, and Sheffield United.

Manchester Derby Preview

Manchester City have got the bragging rights in this competition after winning the trophy five times in the last seven seasons. United, however, have been knocked out twice in their previous three.

Liverpool are still the most successful club in this competition. They have won the EFL trophy seven times compared to six by Man City. If Guardiola’s side lifts the title this season, the Cityzens will join the league of the most successful clubs in the competition.

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Manchester Derby h2h

Man United are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Man City in all competitions and are likely to take it to four considering their current form.

Man City are also in good form and have a good history in this competition. This will be the fourth time they’ll meet United in the semi-finals of this competition.

Their last encounter earlier this season in the EPL ended in a goalless draw. This, however, cannot be used to predict the outcome of today’s game.

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Possible starting lineup:

Manchester United

Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Fernandes; Martial, Rashford

Manchester City

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Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden; Aguero

EFL

Lanzini reveals his post-Europe dream

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Lanzini celebrates scoring against United

West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini is off to a good start in his fifth season with the club.

The 28-year-old scored the only goal last Wednesday, as The Hammers beat Manchester United in the third round of the EFL cup to secure a spot in the next round.

lanzini

Though the Argentinian might still have a couple of years to play in Europe, it seems like he has already planned for when the time away from his country comes to an end, should the club choose to not renew his contract when it expires in 2023.

The midfielder began to ply his trade with River Plate, playing in the first team from 2012-2014.

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Like many other players, Lanzini would like to see himself return to his boyhood club before he hangs his boots.

“I would go back to River obviously; I would love to. I believe that at the time it will happen, when the two parties agree, it will give,” Lanzini said.

“Let the boys who are now enjoying themselves, who are going through a difficult moment, with Gallardo, who is a barbarian coach. The truth is that River today is giving us satisfaction all the time.”

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Lanzini joined West Ham in 2016 from Al-Jazira, and has continued to impress over the years.

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EFL

Alphonse Areola to start, Michail Antonio decision

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Alphonse Areola to start, Michail Antonio decision

After suffering a painful last-minute defeat against Manchester United in the Premier League, the Hammers are set to return the favour in a matter of hours.

For all of West Ham’s attempts at the League Cup, they have yet to hoist the trophy. The club’s greatest showing was in the 1981 contest when they lost a second-leg rematch 2-1 to Liverpool. In this game, both Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish found the back of the net.

Though Manchester United have won the competition five times, they have not done so in the most recent four years, having last done so in 2017 when they defeated Southampton by a 3-2 score.

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A lot of starting XI changes are likely following the weekend’s game, with both teams utilizing the chance to hand debuts and additional minutes to players who were sidelined.

Alphonse Areola is poised to make his West Ham debut in goal, with Lukasz Fabianski being replaced.

Alphonse Areola to start, Michail Antonio decision
Image Credit: Getty Images

Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma, who started last weekend, could be replaced by Issa Diop and Craig Dawson.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Jarrod Bowen were both of interest to Moyes in the Europa League. Both players would add speed and width to the squad.

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Michail Antonio is expected to lead the Hammers attack after being suspended for the Premier League encounter against Manchester United.

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Benitez’ quest to make Goodison Park a fortress amid tough opposition ahead

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Everton head into the new week with two massive games ahead, facing Queens Park Rangers today in the Carabao Cup and Norwich on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez will not enjoy as much squad rotation as he employed during the previous tie when they edged Huddersfield 2-1 because he will be cautious after the defeat at Villa Park last weekend.

One thing to be noted is that many Everton fans will be travelling to West London and they would be very disappointed not to win considering their hunger for silverware.

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Rafa Benitez’ men will need to start sharp on this one in order to avoid any surprises.

The Toffees then host a struggling Norwich side at Goodison Park on matchday six as they hope to bounce back from the haunting 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa.

This means starting at a high tempo too, as opposed to how they started against Burnley last Monday.

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Everton struggled to come from behind after conceding a goal from a set-piece which set the tone for the rest of the first hour with a gloomy mood from their fans. Luckily the players found the courage to turn the game around and win 3-1 at home.

Rafa has said that he intends to make Goodison Park a fortress but to do that he will need to start to display dominance in his team’s playing style. Everton need to have the lion’s share of possession, play in Norwich’s half, put their front foot forward and deprive them of breathing space.

Norwich’s poor form does not guarantee them an easy win, or a win for that matter. They have to do everything right and keep their focus from the first minute to the last.

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