When Manchester United faces Manchester City on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Carabao Cup, a position will be at stake at Wembley Stadium – PA news agency takes a look at the main talking points ahead of the Old Trafford game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is aiming to win his first trophy as Manchester United coach (Rui Vieira/PA) After a strong Europa League campaign under Jose Mourinho in 2017, Manchester United, long the perennial English soccer champions, has not lifted a major trophy. Last season, United suffered loss in three semifinals and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says winning the Carabao Cup would be a “very, very big step” in the growth of his squad. It could also give United the hope that this season they will challenge for the Premier League title. Manchester City are now unbeaten in 11 games with their 3-1 Premier League win at Chelsea (Shaun Botterill/PA) Although the good form of United was met with much praise after their Champions League exit, the recent progress of City before their 3-1 win at Chelsea had gone somewhat under the radar. But after the Tottenham loss on Nov. 21, City is now undefeated in all competitions in 11 matches and has won its last four. That places Pep Guardiola’s side within striking distance of Liverpool and United Premier League champions, and City is looking to win their fourth consecutive Carabao Cup. More excitement guaranteedLast month’s goalless Manchester derby in the Premier League was a tame affair as defenses dominated (Paul Ellis/PA)Last month’s Manchester derby in the Premier League was a cruel affair without qualifications. Both teams paid each other way too much respect and settled at Old Trafford for a goalless draw. The semifinal is a hook or crook affair, with it all or nothing as both teams are looking to prevent a penalty shootout. After impressing in the Premier League victory over Aston Villa (Paul Ellis/PA)United, Paul Pogba (left) hopes to be back in the starting eleven for the Manchester derby 10 times since the beginning of December, City 9. But given their good form and the chance to rest more players in the FA Cup at the weekend, both Solskjaer and Guardiola would be wary of making too many changes. The excellent play of Paul Pogba in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa last Friday should give him another chance to impress him in a higher place for United. Sterling needs to end his drought Raheem Sterling has yet to score a goal in his career against Manchester United (Michael Regan/PA) It is one of the most amazing soccer statistics that Raheem Sterling has yet to score a goal again in 22 games No matter what attacking formation Guardiola puts out at Old Trafford, the England striker will be looking to change that. In the fake number nine spot, Kevin De Bruyne shone at Stamford Bridge, blending brilliantly with Sterling and Phil Foden. Sergio Aguero, so often the nemesis of United, could be deployed from the bench again.