Only the footballing gods would have conspired to draw Manchester City against Manchester United in the the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
Both sides have met already this season in the Premier League where City came out 2-1 winners at Old Trafford in what was a footballing masterclass from Pep Guardiola’s side in the first half. The second half, however, was a much tighter affair.
Regardless, it was clear that if Jose Mourinho’s side are going to compete with their Manchester rivals this time, they will need to be on another level compared to their performance in the last derby.
It seems a bit early for two Premier League giants to clash in the EFL Cup, but, in order to generate interest in a competition which is not taken particularly seriously by fans and teams, maybe this is exactly the sort of tie it needs.
This is not the first time, however, that both sides have met in this competition during the Sheikh Mansour era.
When Roberto Mancini was ushered in as manager on 19th December 2009, he almost immediately faced a tough test with a Carling Cup (that’s what it was called back then) semi-final against United.
With former United forward Carlos Tevez being a City player, there was added malice when the sides clashed in January.
The first leg took place at the Etihad Stadium on 19th January 2010 and it looked like United were going to come out on top after Ryan Giggs put the Reds ahead. However, two goals from Tevez made it 2-1 to City in what was a proper derby match. After scoring his second from the penalty spot, Tevez did a talking hand gesture to United defender Gary Neville, who before the match had criticised the Argentine for leaving Old Trafford.
After the final whistle was blown, it seemed the tide had turned in Manchester and there was a chance that City could finally end their 34-year trophy drought.
The second leg took place at Old Trafford the following Wednesday and with a slender 2-1 lead, City fans were still nervous as to what was in store for the evening.
City looked to be heading out of the competition with goals for United coming from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in the second half, but a goal from Tevez in the 76th minute made it 3-3 on aggregate. City’s hope for a trip to Wembley was destroyed when a familiar foe in Manchester derbies scored the winner for United.
Wayne Rooney, a player who has caused untold dismay for City when it comes to derby day, scored the winner, heading in a Ryan Giggs cross to make it 4-3 on aggregate and securing United’s spot at Wembley.
With the upcoming clash between the two Manchester clubs taking place in the fourth round of the competition, there will be a question as to whether both sides will field weakened sides peppered with youth players instead of first team regulars. However, due to the match being a high profile affair, it would be disrespectful and dangerous to field teams full of youth players, especially considering both teams could really do with a win.
One things is for sure, City fans are still nervous for this derby match!
Written by Matt Astbury
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