Expected Man City lineup vs Man Utd as Covid-19 forces many players to miss out
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Manchester City are set to go head to head with their biggest rivals when they face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final tonight.
A final at Wembley against Tottenham awaits the victor after Jose Mourinho's men beat Brentford on Tuesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are in high spirits and could go top of the Premier League if they get just a point from their game in hand.
Any further chance of a trophy will only bolster their aims with the Norwegian turning around the club's fortunes earlier in the season.
As for City, their year started off in perfect fashion after beating Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
It was a chance for Pep Guardiola to realign their title ambitions after a stuttering start.
The last contest between the two Manchester titans ended 0-0 in a largely dull affair.
Both clubs came under criticism for failing to even take a chance at landing a punch on the other.
But Guardiola has worked feverishly since then, looking to strike a balance between defence and attack but his plans were hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
Several of his players have been ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus, including goalkeeper Ederson.
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Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus have emerged from their 10-day isolation period but might just be too late to possibly have a chance of featuring tonight.
As for the starting XI, Guardiola may favour a largely similar one that featured against Chelsea and proved so successful.
However, with the added attacking quality of Bruno Fernandes, City may opt to field a slightly-tweaked midfield.
Veteran star Fernandinho did not start against the Blues but must surely be in Guardiola's mind to play and help nullify United's counter-attacking threat.
Ilkay Gundogan was the star of the show at Stamford Bridge and will likely be allowed to continue his role against the Red Devils, as will Kevin de Bruyne, while Phil Foden was aslo excellent.
Him and Raheem Sterling on the flanks could give the Red Devils huge problems while John Stones' renaissance in defence looks set to continue.
Aymeric Laporte was missing against Chelsea with a hamstring problem while Ruben Dias has been quality at the back.
As has Joao Cancelo, who has an early shout for the Premier League's best right-back this campaign.
At left-back, Guardiola has a choice of either Oleksandr Zinchenko or Benjamin Mendy but the added balance the Ukrainian gives should give him the nod.
- Manchester City FC
- Manchester United FC
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Pep Guardiola
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