Another tough test in store for Mancini
Roberto Mancini suffered his first defeat in charge of Manchester City at the weekend, and now the Italian will hope his side can respond in the best possible fashion - by beating their arch rivals United in the first-leg of the Carling Cup semi-finals.
It won't be an easy job for the Italian, but United have been inconsistent of late and have shown real defensive vulnerability most of the way through the season - evident when the two met at Old Trafford in a thrilling league game earlier this season.
Perhaps unfortunately for City, Rio Ferdinand won't be in action tonight as he is still sidelined with a combination of a calf and back injury, the England international had a bit of a 'mare that day as Craig Bellamy gave him a torrid time.
United will, however, have the services of Nemanja Vidic to call upon after the Serbian has missed the last three games with a nerve problem in his leg, it's a massive boost for Sir Alex Ferguson as Wes Brown has looked extremely suspect in the last couple of games, particularly the FA Cup tie against Leeds where he seemed to either foul someone or give the ball away every time it came towards him!
The Red Devils also have injury concerns with Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs and both could well be watching the match from the sidelines, Ferguson has already stated that his team will be 'strongish, with some young players' - it's a bold call from the manager as that tactic clearly backfired in the FA Cup, but to be fair to him it's something he's pretty much done his entire time in charge of United in the League Cup and he's won it three times so who am I to argue!
City have been rocked by an injury to Roque Santa Cruz, the Paraguayan was taken off after only eight minutes of the game against Everton with a reoccurrence of the calf problem that saw him miss several games over Christmas and the New Year, with Emmanuel Adebayor still on compassionate leave it give's Mancini a bit of a selection headache as to who will take the two striking positions.
Carlos Tevez is a given, the Argentine is on absolutely red-hot form and will be well pumped up for a match against his old colleagues, Craig Bellamy could be an option to go alongside him but at the weekend he, Tevez and Benjani formed a front three after Santa Cruz was taken off so that's another option, it will be interesting to see whether Robinho will be used as the Brazilian just walked straight down the tunnel following his substitution against Everton - it could teach him a lesson if he's forced to sit the game out.
Despite these dilemmas upfront, City go into the game as favourites as 5/4 - the side playing at home in previous League Cup derbies has never lost. The draw is priced up at 23/10, while United, with just one win in three on the road, are 13/8 to grab a first leg lead.
Robinho has a bit to prove to the manager and the fans about his commitment to the cause, and there'll be no better response than getting a goal in the derby, the former Real Madrid man is 9/1 to bag the opening goal, and 10/3 to score at anytime of the match. Craig Bellamy caused all sorts of problems the last time the two sides met and helped himself to two goals, the Welshman is a 7/1 shot for the opener and 2/1 to score at any point of the 90 minutes (or 96 if we go by the last time they met).
United will be likely to hand a start to Michael Owen if Berbatov doesn't make it in time, the former England international hit a dramatic late winner in the league fixture and is 11/2 to do the same with the last goal of this game (same price for first goal), and 6/4 just to get his name on the scoresheet at any stage of the match.
It's sure to be cracking derby in the Carling Cup, make sure you join us live to bet In-Play on a range of markets.