Michael Carrick should return to United's line-up for the Sunderland clash. Image courtesy of skysports.com
For a team used to winning, it is somewhat of a shock to see Manchester United’s best chance of grabbing silverware coming in the League Cup, without doubt the least important of the four trophies the glamour club regularly competes for. The Red Devils sit in seventh on the Premier League table, 11 points behind Arsenal, and were knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend when Swansea City scored a surprise 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
That was the fifth loss at the Theatre of Dreams since David Moyes took the reins following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement; again, something United fans are not used. It means the Scotsman will be pulling out all stops in the first leg of the club’s League Cup semi-final against EPL struggler Sunderland, especially given his team’s mounting injury toll.
Moyes was without Robin van Persie (thigh) and Wayne Rooney (groin) against Swansea at the weekend, although the latter is a chance of lining up on Wednesday morning (AEST). Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and David de Gea are all set to play after being rested from the FA Cup defeat. Rio Ferdinand was injured in that game, and the man who replaced him at the back, Fabio, was sent off, leading to a one-match suspension. The likes of Nani, Ashley Young and Maroune Fellaini will miss the clash with the Black Cats.
Sunderland is stumped at the bottom of the table in the Premiership, but it was a jolly Festive season in the north west of the country. The Cats beat Chelsea 2-1 in extra-time to advance to this stage of the League Cup, then backed that up with victory over 1-0 win over Everton to boost their survival chances in the EPL. An easy 3-1 triumph over Carlisle in the FA Cup means Gus Poyet’s side has progressed to the fourth round. It’s just a shame they can’t repeat their knockout success where it matters most.
Former United man John O’Shea returns to the Sunderland side after missing four games with a shoulder injury. ‘Keeper Kieren Westwood (shoulder) and Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar (hip) are both out of action, but fellow defenders Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite should recover in time for kick-off.
United beat Sunderland 2-1 earlier this season thanks to a brace from Adnan Januzaj. The Red Devils have won the last six matches between the teams and you have to go back to 1997 to find Sunderland’s last victory.
Click here to bet on England League Cup semi-finals