Manchester United and Nottingham Forest will go head-to-head for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday, as two of English football’s most historic sides look to take one step closer to Wembley
Erik ten Hag will be without three players for Manchester United‘s first trip to the City Ground since 1999.
It’s nearly 24 years to the day since the Red Devils ran out 8-1 winners against soon-to-be-relegated Nottingham Forest, as the legendary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a record four goals as a substitute in only 10 minutes. Gone are those glory days, gone is Solskjaer as manager, and now it’s Ten Hag tasked with bringing silverware to Old Trafford for the first time since 2017.
For this one, a blood-pumping Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, the Red Devils boss won’t be able to call a trio of stars; Diogo Dalot, Anthony Martialand Jadon Sancho. While Dalot and Martial remain injured, having missed Sunday’s gutting 3-2 defeataway to Arsenal, Sancho has only recently rejoined first-team training after spending two months on an individual training programme.
There’ll be no contest in goal, with David de Geaalmost certain to keep his place between the posts. The same goes for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back, who’s enjoying a run of games in Dalot’s absence but must improve on his display at Arsenal which saw him come in for criticism from the likes of Roy Keane.
The same couldn’t be said for Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the heart of defence, as each of them played well on an individual basis. Martinez even got a goal and has now wrestled back his place in the starting XI, having spent a period after his success at the World Cup sat on the bench.
The Argentine’s spell as a substitute was because of Luke Shaw‘s performance as a makeshift centre-back, but he’s now back in his natural left-back spot and forcing Tyrell Malacia to watch from the sidelines. That could well be the role Christian Eriksen plays at the City Ground, too, with Fredpushing for a start and midfield general Casemiroreturning from suspension.