Yesterday, Colin Bell, one of the real greats, passed away.
Tonight, in retro number 8 jerseys, City will take the field, there will be a minute of silence, and both teams will wear black armbands in memory of a true Manchester soccer hero. Pep Guardiola shared his condolences, “It’s a sad day for all of us. We would like to send our best wishes to the family. This club belongs to the players who have made this club what it is. We are grateful for personalities like Colin Bell.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is making two changes on New Year’s Day from the squad that defeated Aston Villa.
In goal, Dean Henderson takes David de Gea’s spot, while in defence, Victor Lindelof replaces Eric Bailly.
Pep Guardiola is making two changes to the City team that featured in the victory over Chelsea on Sunday. Rodri and Bernardo Silva are out and Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez are in. Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus are returning from the isolation of Covid and will begin on the bench. 18-year-old James Trafford – Young Trafford, if you will – is named as a substitute, with two goalkeepers testing positive for Covid.
Substitutes: De Gea, Telles, Bailly, Tuanzebe, James, Mata, Matic, Van de Beek, Greenwood. Manchester United: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Martial, Rashford.
Subs: Trafford, Walker, Jesus, Aguero, Rodrigo, Mendy, Nmecha, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete. Manchester City: Steffen, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Foden, Sterling.
The 184th Manchester Derby was good luck. At a time when both United and City are in shape and feeling good about themselves, the League Cup semifinal arrives. Since the beginning of November, United has not lost a home game, though City has not lost in any competition since the middle of the same month. In the last 13 months, United have won three out of five games, while City have won only one… But that one victory, in the last round, sealed City’s semifinal spot.
For the fourth year in a row, City will be looking to win the trophy; United will think they deserve a semifinal win after last season’s three defeats. Yeah, with that decision, good luck.
There will be no first and second legs this year because of the damn virus. So the decision will be taken tonight, even though the curtailment has limits: if necessary, there is always extra time and penalty shootouts.
Both teams can make up to five substitutions, but within 90 minutes, they will only have a limit of three chances to do so.
They will get another chance if the game goes to extra time. In the final at Wembley in April, who will face Tottenham Hotspur? Soon enough, we’ll find out.
We’re moving here.
Kickoff: GMT at 19:45.