Wednesday’s Capital One League Cup Semi-Final takes place at Old Trafford as Manchester United take on Sunderland in the second leg replay. Read below for my prediction and preview for the match.
Manchester United will certainly be hoping that playing at home will help them out as they are down 1-2 on aggregate and playing against a resurgent Sunderland team. Remember that away goals mean nothing in the Capital One Cup and a winner will be decided on the night. If the aggregate score remains tied then they will go to penalty kicks.
The Black Cats come in to the League Cup after grabbing a much deserved, hard fought 2-2 draw at home to Southampton. This was another boost to their current form in which they have just one loss in their last 10 matches in all competitions. In their last four matches they have gone 3-1-0 while outscoring the opposition 11-5.
Their weakness has continued to be in defending with three clean sheets coming in their last ten matches, although, in this time they have given up more than one goal just twice, both in 2-2 draws.
Injuries and suspensions: Sunderland don’t have any major concerns, certainly not anything new anyway. Their only injuries are both long term to Carlos Cuellar and Kieran Westwood.
The worrying thing for Manchester United this season has been their lack of quality at both ends of the pitch. With both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie out they have not had a clinical finisher to produce goals and they have been largely relying on the 18 year old Adnan Januzaj to drive their attack.
At the other end of the pitch they have continued to give up goals, including three more to Chelsea this weekend. Over their last five matches they have given up nine goals with one clean sheet for their lone win in that time. They scored six goals in that time giving them a goal difference of -3.
It certainly seems that all of these statistics point to Manchester United losing this match, but there comes a time when the team needs to turn the corner and this match is their chance to prove themselves. If the humiliating 3-1 defeat to Chelsea isn’t enough to get them motivated for this match, then I certainly do fear for their season.
Injuries and suspensions: Patrice Evra should be available while Rio Ferdinand is questionable, but could be needed now that Nemanja Vidic is out for three matches following his red card on Sunday. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie remain sidelined along with Marouane Fellaini and Nani. I would not be surprised to see Wayne Rooney make the subs bench, or even start, considering the current crisis and need for a world class player in the side.
In the first leg Sunderland shocked most observers with a 2-1 home win. The second leg could go either way with Manchester United currently struggling and Sunderland on a great run. This is one pick that could easily go either way.
My own prediction is for a 2-0 Manchester United win. In their most recent home match, against Swansea in the Premier League, they did show signs of improvement. However, this is one match that putting a small bet down on Sunderland for the win wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the match go into extra time or even penalties, though my prediction is for it to be resolved in normal time.
Betting Odds: United win: 1.33; Draw: 5.00; Sunderland win: 9.00
Prediction: Manchester United 2 – 0 Sunderland
TV Schedule: Coverage starts at 2:40 pm on beIN SPORT.