A Manchester United squad of the past would be relishing the opportunity at a 3-1 comeback in the 2nd leg of a cup tie, but this isn’t the Alex Ferguson era and on the 29th of January Manchester United will have a fearsome task in front of them, as they attempt to recover from a 3-1 deficit on their rivals home pitch.
The famous Manchester derby has spilt into the Carabao Cup Semi-Finals this season, but Ole Gunnar and the united squad didn’t expect such a lob-sided first leg defeat from Pep and the boys in blue. A late consolation goal from Rashford gave United fans a glimpse of hope for the 2nd leg replay, well, at least until he was injured against Wolves in last week’s FA Cup tie.
The Absence of Marcus Rashford
This past weekend another heated Premier League rivalry took place when United took on the league leaders Liverpool. However, this wasn’t your typical Liverpool United matchup. The first half for United was an abysmal performance and if it wasn’t for Liverpool’s poor finishing efforts, the first half score could’ve been a considerably higher amount than just one goal.
When manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer risked Marcus Rashford as a substitute in the FA Cup clash with Wolves he put his top goal scorer and a key player in a compromising position. And it came right back to bite him in the butt as Rashford left the game with a fractured back.
Manchester United isn’t as formidable as they once were, but Marcus Rashford was the main fear-factor for United’s opponents. His absence seems to have come at the worst time, with a 2-0 loss against Liverpool making it apparent that United have no dangerous goal scorers without Rashford at the helm. He was the only goal scorer in the reverse FA Cup fixture with City and is now expected to be out of action for at least six weeks, with a realistic return period expected to be around April time. United aren’t the only ones to suffer, as the England team have already lost Harry Kane and now suffers the exact same blow with Rashford.
City takes a commanding lead into the second leg
The first leg clash in the Carabao Cup left The Reds with a sour taste in their mouth, watching the rivals walk into Old Trafford and take a 3 goal lead in the first half wasn’t the afternoon result that was expected. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t hide away from his team’s efforts, agreeing that the display from his squad in the first 45 minutes was the worst all season. City was obviously content with their lead heading into the second half, but United wouldn’t just lie over. Rashford with the consolation goal for their efforts in the second half was too little too late.
The second-leg will take place at the Etihad Stadium where earlier this season, Solskjaer’s men were able to pull apart this Manchester City side with sheer speed and class.
The current cup holders and winners of the cup the past three years shouldn’t be taken lightly in any competition, United weren’t ready the first time around but I doubt City can pull another whitewash performance out of their pocket.
Can United do the unthinkable and beat the odds?
United couldn’t help but surrender possession to Pep Guardiola’s men in the first leg and should approach their playing out from the back style in a different way for the second game. For the majority, United was unable to touch City as it seemed like they were going to hold onto the ball forever and take it right back of us when we had a look in. If we remove the goal from Rashford, there wasn’t a single positive to take away from the embarrassing performance.
Reinforcements will be needed for the 2nd leg and if Ole Gunnar doesn’t pull the trigger on some new signings before the end of next week, United could be in severe goal-scoring troubles for the remainder of Rashfords absence.
If they were able to seal the deal with Bruno Fernandes within the next couple of days, this breath of fresh air could be exactly what Solskjaer and the incredible fans of Manchester United need, and maybe improve their chances in the premier league.
All is not lost, there is still another 90 minutes of football to play and let’s not forget what happened last year against Paris Saint Germain.