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Carabao cup: Manchester Derby semifinal

For the second season in a row, we are treated to a Manchester derby at the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup but this time it’s a one-off special. United welcome City with both teams aiming for Wembley, and the latter looking to continue their recent dominance of this competition.

City put in their best attacking performance in some time as they comfortably defeat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. The scoreline was kind to the hosts, City should have easily had a few more on top of that. In an odd way, their best attacking showing came without a striker in place, and with City’s recent form against United, it may be wise to adopt a similar approach here.

Kevin De Bruyne led the line in superb fashion last time out and he’s the subject of the first best bet in this game. Sergio Aguero is looking for a return to the starting line-up following his most recent injury but it may be worth keeping him sidelined for a few more days at least with the FA Cup at the weekend.

The false nine formation has proven to be an effective one for City when they want it to be.

De Bruyne’s odds of 23/10 are just too big if he is in a similar position to Sunday, he scored in that game and when he played as a center forward in a 4-4-2 formation away at Real Madrid in the Champions League last campaign.

Even if he is in a more traditional midfield role, he has shown he can strike from various situations. There were 16 goals across all competitions last season and he’s averaging a goal every four games for City. That is a great return considering the amount of assists he also contributes.

The 23/10 is worth taking because of the potential for him to be up front or in a false nine position again. Even if De Bruyne does get on the scoresheet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that City will triumph. In fact, recent history has shown they have struggled versus their local rivals and United are worth backing on price alone.

The hosts are a huge 8/5 to qualify, with 6/4 available across the board. This is a City side who have only beaten United once in their last five meetings in all competitions. They have failed to find the net in the last three games, two of which have gone in the favor of the red side of Manchester. Pep Guardiola has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the past and they are clearly a team they have struggled to work out.

If City play like they did on Sunday then United will have issues but recent contests have shown that may not be the case.

It’s usually a fixture that suits United more than City because of the potential to counter attack.

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