The Carabao Cup has reached the semi-final, second leg stage this week. The first matchup on Tuesday night is a Midlands derby that sees Aston Villa host Leicester City. This is followed on Wednesday evening by the Manchester derby as City hose United at the Etihad Stadium. Here is what to watch out for in both games.
Aston Villa vs. Leicester City
This game is delicately poised at 1-1 after the first leg of the tie that took place in Leicester at the King Power Stadium earlier this month. It is worth noting here that the away goals rule doesn’t apply in the competition anymore, meaning that the game will go straight to penalties – there is no extra time either – should this leg finish in a draw no matter if it is 0-0 or 9-9.
The visitors will be buoyed by the fact that star striker Jamie Vardy is back to something akin to full fitness after his glute injury last week against West Ham. the injury – which was initially feared to be a hamstring issue – means that the 80-percent fit Vardy will have a role to play in this contest, be it from the start or off of the bench.
Aston Villa may look to give a debut to new signing Mbwana Samatta after completing the capture of the Tanzanian striker from Genk earlier this month. Samatta is hoped to be the answer to the Villa injury crisis up front, with the Villains having played their last four matches without a recognized front man in the team.
This is a finely poised match that both squads will think they can win. Leicester seem to have gotten over their blip in form at the end of the Christmas period and they are rightfully favorites here with BetXChange. The Foxes are excellent away from home because of their pace on the break and we like them to win here. A Leicester win with over 2.5 goals at 1.29 in a solid punt.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
It is hard to see a way that Manchester United can overturn the 3-1 deficit they find themselves staring at after the first leg of this tie at Old Trafford got away from them.
The Red Devils will still be without the excellent Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba remains a long term absentee. The game against Tranmere in the FA Cup provided no fresh injury worries, but this is still a United team that lacks in both strength-in-depth and in star power. Much of their hopes to turn this around will be pinned on the shoulders of Anthony Martial.
The Citizens are looking to make this three years in a row in the Carabao Cup final if they can hold onto – or extend – their first-leg lead here Pep Guardiola has basically a full-strength squad to choose from with only the long injured Leroy Sane unavailable. Players like Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, and the just returned Aymeric Laporte were all rested at the weekend, so expect City to name a strong team here in an attempt to get an early goal and finish it as a contest.
Hard to see anything other than a home win here as United look toothless without Rashford against the big teams. His pace on the counter-attack was enough for United to shock their neighbors last time out, but that won’t happen here. City will win at short odds with BetXChange, with under 2.5 goals in the game at 1.43 being an interesting bet if you think this one will be over with a City goal by half time.