Manchester United vs. Manchester City EFL Cup Semi-Finals Pick – January 7

It is always special when the Manchester Derby takes place, and the fact that the latest installment on Wednesday occurs in the League Cup semi-final, should only add to the intrigue.

After dull starts to their respective campaigns, both the red and blue sides of Manchester are starting to round into form lately. Manchester United currently sit tied atop the Premier League and continue to find ways to win games with their potent attack, while Manchester City made a statement victory their last time out in throttling Chelsea.

While both of these clubs do play a ton of extra matches, squad depth and good rotation is something both managers are accustomed to, so tired legs shouldn’t be too much of a factor. Still though, this is a semi-final and it’s always special to win some silverware, especially when it comes at the expense of knocking out your city rivals. For that reason, expect very strong lineups for both squads on Wednesday.

Keep reading on beneath the current posted odds for this League Cup semi-final showdown, as well as deeper team news and a tactical analysis, before delving into our winning wager for Man City vs. Man United. It should be a special one.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United Betting Odds:

Manchester City (+110)
Draw (+280)
Manchester United (+250)

Man City to Advance (-155)
Man United to Advance (+135)

Over 2.5 (-135)
Under 2.5 (+115)

*Betting odds provided by

Manchester City vs. Manchester United Pick:

Man United are fortunate to enter against a powerhouse City side with a mostly full lineup available for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to pick from. Don’t expect too much tinkering or catering his team selection for an offensive-minded City, as the Red Devils have been in excellent form of late.

Look for the familiar 4-3-1-2 formation, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay playing prominent roles in the centre of the pitch with ball winning and distribution. It’s unlikely Man United carries the majority of possession on Wednesday, so winning balls back and getting them up top to their lethal finishers should be a priority.

In attack, the trio of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Bruno Fernandes have carried and spearheaded this Man United resurgence. They’ve been elite on the ball, and should be able to really offer a challenge to the City defense. It’s hard to envision this United squad not finding the back of the net in this League Cup semi-final.

For Man City, unfortunately they’ve had to endure a bit of a COVID-19 scare within their ranks, and as such – up to six regulars may have to miss out. Among them, key talents like Kyle Walker, Ferran Torres, and Gabriel Jesus. While the blue side of Manchester boasts elite depth and talent across the entire pitch, those losses could hurt in what has been a congested schedule in recent weeks.

Expect Pep Guardiola to have his team set-up in a 4-3-3 formation, with a lethal attacking threat in Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne, and Raheem Sterling. They’ll have creators and heavy skill in the midfield to counteract Man United’s height and strength, while at the back questions do still exist about the fitness and ability of John Stones and Ruben Dias. That’s a relatively makeshift central defense pairing, and one that should get a stiff test from United.

While semi-final matches before Cup Finals do tend to be cagey affairs, it’s hard to foresee a scenario where both side’s defenses struggle mightily with the attacking ability of their opponents. Man United and Man City will have outstanding attacking personnel, and will decisively hold an advantage over these struggling back-lines. For those reasons, expect an early goal to open up the attacking play of both squads, and hopefully we’ll see a high-scoring edition of this special Manchester Derby. A 2-1 scoreline seems fitting to get us over the number, and while I lean to Man United as big underdogs, picking a side might be too close to call. Enjoy this match!

My Pick
Over 2.5
Will S. / Author

Will has been working with The Sports Geek since its early days back in 2010. He began as a soccer specialist, focusing on detailed reports for major international competitions, including the World Cup and European Championships. Since then, he has produced weekly pick articles on both the NFL and English Premier League, while also contributing blog posts on the NHL, MLB, and even WWE wrestling. Will is also an avid sports bettor and daily fantasy player, always eager to share his thoughts and insight on anything going on in the world of sports.