MATCH PREVIEW: Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United

Aiming to put one foot in the final of the EFL Cup, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United lock horns in the first leg of their semi-final at the City Ground on Wednesday.

The Tricky Trees edged past Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties to make the final four, while the Red Devils comfortably saw off Charlton Athletic in the quarter-finals, and the two sides will reconvene for the second leg at Old Trafford on February 1 for the chance to meet Newcastle United or Southampton at Wembley.

Having fallen 11 points behind the league leaders – who also have a game in hand – the EFL Cup presents a more immediate shot at early silverware for Erik ten Hag, whose team have sent Charlton Athletic, Aston Villa and Burnley out of the tournament to progress to the final four.

Jose Mourinho led the Red Devils to EFL Cup glory in 2017 – their fifth time going all the way in the tournament – but they have since suffered two semi-final eliminations to Manchester City in 2020 and 2021 and are now at risk of going three games without a win for the first time under Ten Hag.

However, Man United’s last five EFL Cup games away from home have ended in victory – with their most recent four also seeing the Red Devils pick up a clean sheet – and Ten Hag’s side eased past Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford just after Christmas.

For United, Ten Hag will welcome Casemiro back to the team with open arms after the Brazilian missed the loss to Arsenal through suspension, which should spell the end of Scott McTominay’s brief time in the starting XI.

Axel Tuanzebe and Donny van de Beek remain sidelined for the Red Devils, who are also unlikely to welcome Jadon Sancho – who is now in team training – back to the fold so soon, while Anthony Martial (leg) and Diogo Dalot (hamstring) are facing races against time to be fit as well.

Ten Hag should save the bulk of his rotations for the weekend’s FA Cup clash with Reading and go with a strong XI from the off at the City Ground, but Alejandro Garnacho and Tyrell Malacia are among those who can feel hopeful of recalls.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Malacia; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

About Vince Rosetta 215 Articles
A life long Manchester United fan based in the US.

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