After Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Chelsea, Manchester United will want to bounce back against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup tomorrow.
Here, we take a look at five key battles that could emerge in our now pivotal clash against Sunderland. Will these tactical tête-à-têtes be the key to reaching the League Cup Final?
Adam Johnson vs Evra/Buttner
Adam Johnson is Sunderland’s star man at the minute. He’s in great form and has the pace and trickery to cause our back line some real problems. Is Evra going to be fit to face him? Do we fancy Buttner’s chances up against him? Pin back Johnson and there is a good chance we can nullify Sunderland’s attack but if our left-back gets caught on the counter, it could spell disaster.
Rafael/Chris Smalling vs Fabio Borini
Here we assumer that Rafael will start this game but it’s possible David Moyes might select Chris Smalling as the former has come under a lot of fire in the press for his horror-tackle at the weekend. Either way, Borini is also in great form for Sunderland and is equally tricky when cutting in from the left. Rafael at his best would have no problem with this, but will he be shaken by the events of the weekend?
Adnan Januzaj vs. Phil Bardsley
Januzaj looks a class apart at the minute. Everything we do goes through him and he might provde too much for United old boy Bardsley to handle. Januzaj’s quick feet, invention and change-of-pace should be a feature of our play in this clash.
Michael Carrick vs. Seb Larsson
Carrick has been a little slow to start since he returned from injury a few weeks ago but he’s back and remains our best midfielder. Larsson is a tidy player with bags of ability and is capable of the extraordinary but if Carrick can get his metronomic passing and extra-sensory intercepting skills back to his usual best, we should have no worries in this department.
Danny Welbeck vs. John O’shea
Whether Moyes plumps for Chicharito after his goal against Chelsea remains to be seen but on current form, Welbeck is as good as anyone in the league operating as a lone striker. He will be up against the very experienced and positionally aware John O’shea who will be hoping to enjoy a successful return to Old Trafford. Welbeck’s pace and movement will be key and he will need to link up well with Januzaj again if we are going to recover the deficit from the first leg.
Do you think we will make it to the final? Who will be the star men? What will the final score be? Have your say below…