Manchester City are seeking a repeat of their Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United from last season. Over two legs, Pep Guardiola’s side took the tie 3-2, although this season’s tie will be decided on Wednesday night.
Since losing the first leg of that tie 3-1, United have enjoyed a three-match undefeated run against their neighbours, winning two and drawing the other. Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have not conceded a single goal in those games.
Prior to the 0-0 draw between the clubs just three weeks ago, there had not been a tie between the Manchester giants in their previous eight meetings.
LAST TIME OUT
The scoreless draw between the clubs at Old Trafford on December 12 scored a 2.2 FC Match Excitement Rating. Only one Premier League fixtures – Fulham’s stalemate with Southampton on Boxing Day – has had a lower rating this season.
Bruno Fernandes’ influence was successfully quelled by City on that occasion. The Portuguese lost possession 22 times – more than any other player on the field.
The influence of City’s full-backs during that game was notable. Both Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker were in the top five players was completed passes in the final third. Cancelo’s four completed dribbles were twice as many as any other player on the pitch managed.
THE STAR MEN
Signed from Sporting CP last January, Bruno has enjoyed two Manchester derbies. He was an architect of United’s 2-0 win at Old Trafford in March, setting up Anthony Martial’s opening goal.
Manchester United’s penalty record has again been in the news this week following their 2-1 win over Aston Villa and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s subsequent hints of favouritism. Bruno has taken 16 for United and has converted 15 of those.
With 24 final-third passes when the sides last met, De Bruyne was the most active player in this regard in the fixture. His overall influence on the game was restricted well by United, who allowed him only 55 touches.
For club and country, De Bruyne has scored only four goals this season. His xG is 7.79.
Since taking charge of United in 2018, Solskjaer has a winning record in the derby, picking up three victories and a draw in the six matches he has overseen.
Guardiola, meanwhile, is approaching his 17th clash against Manchester United. Although he has won eight of these, as City boss he has a neutral record against the Red Devils (W5 D2 L5).