The semi-finals of the EFL Cup are set to be underway

Nottingham Forest and Manchester United square off in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday at the City Ground, hoping to advance to the championship game. The Tricky Trees narrowly defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties to advance to the final four, while the Red Devils easily defeated Charlton Athletic in the quarterfinals. On February 1, the two teams will meet again at Old Trafford for the return leg in order to determine who will face Newcastle United or Southampton at Wembley.

Kick-off:

Thursday, 25 January; 8:00 pm (GMT)
Friday, 26 January; 1:30 am (IST)

Nottingham Forest form (all competitions): D-W-L-W-W-D

Manchester United form (all competitions): W-W-W-W-D-L

Players to watch

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has maintained his recent fine form against Nottingham the last time they met in addition to his outstanding performance at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Rashford scored 16 goals and 4 assists for Manchester United thus far in 2022–2023. His effort and skills against Arsenal went waned after the loss.

Orel Mangala

Forest’s best player at Old Trafford was Orel Mangala last time but Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, and either Emmanuel Dennis or Taiwo Awoniyi usually lead the Tricky Trees’ attack. However, his anticipation and work rate can make a crucial impact on the game.

Match Facts

  • Manchester United easily defeated Nottingham Forest 3-0 in their most recent league match. 
  • Marcus Rashford, a forward for Manchester United, has made 12 goal-related contributions in 18 league starts.
  • Bruno Fernandes, a Portuguese midfielder for Manchester United, has made eight goal-related contributions in 19 starts. 
  • For Manchester United, Brazilian midfielder Casemiro has contributed to five league goals.

Injury and Team News

As Henderson recovers from a thigh injury, Wayne Hennessey will lead the Forest defence. Taiwo Awoniyi, Cheikhou Kouyate, Omar Richards, Moussa Niakhate, and Giulian Biancone are also in the medical.

Danilo made his debut in Forest’s tie with Bournemouth as Ryan Yates was only able to play the first half due to illness. After a strong second half, the former Palmeiras midfielder may be considered for a starting spot. Winter arrives Gustavo Scarpa can return and strike as Chris Wood is cup-tied from Newcastle United.

After Casemiro missed the loss to Arsenal due to suspension, Ten Hag will welcome him back, which should end Scott McTominay’s brief stay in the starting XI.

The Red Devils are still without Axel Tuanzebe, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, and Diogo Dalot. Ten Hag should reserve his chances for the weekend’s FA Cup match against Reading and start a solid XI at the City Ground, but Alejandro Garnacho and Tyrell Malacia may be recalled.

Head-to-head record

Games Played- 106

Manchester United won- 49

Nottingham Forest won-33

Draws-24

Predicted Lineup

Nottingham Forest predicted lineup:

Hennessey; Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi; Mangala, Danilo, Freuler; Scarpa; Johnson, Gibbs-White

Manchester United predicted lineup:

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Malacia; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

Match Prediction

Nottingham Forest is gradually establishing itself as a real force at this level, and few teams have been able to keep Cooper’s side at bay at the newly-fortified City Ground.

The hosts are also working with a day’s additional rest, but Manchester United gave Arsenal a run for their money at the weekend, and a solid XI should eke out a first-leg edge, although a slender one.

Prediction: Nottingham 1-2 Manchester United

Where to Watch?

UK -Sky Sports

US- ESPN+

India- DAZN

Nigeria- Supersport, ESPN, Africa Sporty

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