Eliminated by a Premier League second division team in the English League Cup, Manchester United returns to face this ‘ghost’ on Friday, January 5. Derby County, which plays in the Championship for a place in the Premier League, will be their debut rival in the traditional England Cup. At Old Tradfford Stadium in Manchester, the game is scheduled to start at 18h (GMT).
The competition has a different regulation. If there is a winner, the setting takes place in a single game. If the confrontation ends tied a new meeting will be held, but this time with inverted field control. This rule, called a replay, is not valid for the second game. Even if you have to resort to the 30-minute overtime and penalty shootout, it will reveal the survivor in the cup dispute.
The recent performance of Manchester United
The defeat for Bristol City, 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the League Cup of England, began a time of turmoil in the club. The failure eventually started a series of four games without wins (the other three finished tied). Contributed to the crisis was the bustling style of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, who in the period distributed criticism to his players, club directors, refereeing and, of course, against sports commentators.
The series of stumbling blocks ended on the first day of 2018. On Monday, United defeated Everton 2-0 to move up to 47 points (14 wins, five draws and three losses) in the Premier League. The difference for Manchester City, the leader and who would be their rival in the League Cup semifinals if the reds had not been eliminated, is 15 points, which virtually liquidates Mourinho’s dream of leading his team to the Premier League title.
To scare the ‘ghost’ of early elimination before a Segundona team, the coach has in his favor this time the field factor. While facing Bristol in their domains, will have the chance to set the classification in their stadium. Although the last two home games did not make it past the draw, the team accumulated 26 (eight wins, two draws and a loss) of the 33 who played at Old Tradfford in the English Championship.
Faced with an opponent who will surely play closed, Mourinho again will not be able to count on his two men of area. Attackers Romelu Lukaku (21 games in the English Championship 2017/2018, ten goals) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (five games, no goal) are out of action.
Due to the embezzlements, the coach used a scheme without fixed man of area before the Everton. With good performance of midfielder Juan Mata (17 games, three goals), the team risked 21 finalizations and sent six of them on target. He reached the goal with Anthony Martial (20 games, seven goals) and Jesse Lingard (18 games, seven goals).
The formula will most likely be repeated this Friday, as the options for tactical changes are limited. In addition to the attackers, defender Eric Bailly (eight games, one goal) is handed over to the medical department; and Michael Carrick (without performances), Marrouane Fellaini (nine games, three goals) and Antonio Valencia (18 matches, two goals).
Ashley Young is also the one who will not be able to act. It will have to fulfill the second match of the suspension of three matches that was applied by the English Federation.
The current form of Derby County
With budget and much more modest pretensions than United, the Derby will tread in the traditional field of Old Tradfford defending an undefeated series of seven matches. There were five wins and two draws.
The team also played on the first day of the year and went 1: 1 at home to Sheffield United. It was enough to keep the team in the vice-lead of Champioship. He has 49 points (14 wins, seven draws and five losses). They are 12 less than Wolves, the leader. In the Second Division, only the first two get a spot in the Premier League. Who is between the third and sixth places can still play the recap, which gives the winner a place in the elite division of English football.
In this dispute, the situation of the Derby is relatively comfortable. After 26 contested rounds of the planned 46, the team opened up seven points ahead of seventh-placed Sheffield United, which ended up making last Monday’s draw acceptable.
Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley (15 matches in the Premier League English League season 2017/2018, one goal) is doubtful for the showdown in Manchester. He suffered a concussion in the back that took him out of the last two Derby games, which as well as the Reds have the privilege of making their debut in the third round of the FA Cup.
History of the bouts between Manchester United and Derby County
The teams had their paths crossed in 12 opportunities. United have won nine, including the 3-1 draw in last season’s FA Cup. The Derby won twice and there was only one draw.
An easy start should not be expected. Times extremely closed in the defense usually costum a lot of difficulties for a United, es that can not count on his two men of area. However, it also offers an advantage. As the Derby should not expose much, the defense of the reds will not be unclogged allowing the midfielders advance.
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