By News Team
5th January 2021
The first silverware of the season is within touching distance as Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs and Brentford battle it out for a place in the final at Wembley.
We preview the action below as both Manchester sides battle it out on Tuesday, while Spurs host Brentford the following evening.
Spurs’ chance to topple domestic cup final drought
The first of the two Carabao Cup semi-finals sees Brentford bid to add Tottenham to their list of Premier League scalps. The buzzing Bees have already stung Southampton, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle in the competition. Yet the stats, the odds and history are firmly against Thomas Frank’s Championship highflyers making it through to their first-ever major cup final.
Spurs and manager Jose Mourinho are past masters at winning semi-finals and go into this clash with confidence-boosting 3-0 win over Leeds under their belts. And they could hardly have wished for a better chance to get to their fifth final in this competition as they have never lost to Brentford at home and are unbeaten against them since 1948. Add in the fact Mourinho has won 15 of his 17 home matches as a manager against lower league sides and you can see how tough Brentford’s task is.
Yet an adventurous and confident Brentford, unbeaten in 15 games, are capable of causing Spurs’ defence problems, with 16-goal Ivan Toney leading the line.
However, the odds suggest Spurs have the class to see them through on home turf and stay in with a chance of winning their first trophy since 2008. Mourinho’s side are 2/5 to win inside 90 minutes, with Brentford at 7/1.
Yet semi-finals are rarely straight-forward affairs so this could go the distance. Spurs are 9/1 to win after extra time and 16/1 to edge through on penalties, while if you fancy Brentford to nick it, they are 25/1 to win after extra time and 18/1 to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout.
Will United end City’s League Cup dominance?
Manchester City look to continue their march to a fourth straight Carabao Cup Trophy win when they travel to the other side of town on Wednesday night. After City’s strangely subdued start to the season they will go into the latest derby clash full of confidence after looking more like their old self in the comfortable 3-1 over Chelsea. This competition holds a special place in Pep Guardiola’s heart as it was the first trophy he won after taking over as City boss. They beat United at the same stage of the tournament last year – one of three semi-final losses for United – and are hot to do so again.
United are on a roll and have climbed to second in the Premier League on the back of a run of eight wins and two draws in their last 10 league games and this competition represents a real chance for them to deliver a trophy. The two teams played out a 0-0 draw when they met at Old Trafford last month, but United’s form has improved since then, even if at times they have looked less than convincing. Strangely, United would probably have relished this more if the game was at the Etihad as they have won six and drawn one of their seven games on the road this term so far. On their own patch they have been beaten three times.
So, can United end City’s League Cup domination?
It’s not often United can be backed at 13/5 to win at home in 90 minutes but they can here, with City 19/20 favourites. City will not be at full strength and that evens things up, so it is likely to be a cagey affair with so much on the line. United are 16/1 to win in extra time and 14/1 on penalties.