This week we have the two semifinals of the Carabao Cup taking place, the first in London and the second in Manchester and both games are local derby matches. We kick off the action at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where home team Spurs face Championship side Brentford in the first semi-final on Tuesday night.

Then on Wednesday evening, the focus moves north to Manchester, where Manchester United will host rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford in the second semifinal. Both games are winner-takes-all affairs, with extra time and penalties used to decide the winner of each tie.

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Let’s now take a closer look at both the Carabao Cup semifinal ties taking place this week, focusing first on Tuesday night’s clash between Championship side Brentford and Premier League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur.

Carabao Cup Semifinals – Preview

Unlike previous seasons, the 2020 Carabao Cup semifinals will be played over one leg, not two, with extra time and penalties used to decide the winner in the event of a draw. The teams drawn first out of the hat will play the fixture at their home ground, which means Tottenham and Manchester United have home ties for the two semifinals.

The final of the tournament has also been moved from February to April this year in the hope that more fans may be able to attend.

Tottenham v Brentford

Tottenham’s last major trophy was their 2008 victory in this competition when it was the Carling Cup. They face a Championship side in Brentford who missed out on promotion to the Premier League in the playoff final last year and who are going well in the division once again this season, lying in 4th place in the table.

That is the same position that Spurs occupy in the Premier League. Both sides have also lost just three games in the league this season and Brentford are unbeaten in their last sixteen games in all competitions, last losing 3-2 away to Stoke on October 24th.

Team News & Probable Team Selections

After being sent off on Sunday, Tottenham right back Matt Doherty is suspended for this game and Giovani Lo Celso and Gareth Bale will miss out through injury. Manager Jose Mourinho may elect to bring in a couple of new faces to freshen up the team after their solid win over Leeds at the weekend.

Moussa Sissoko, Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura are the most likely to return to the Spurs team and disenfranchised midfielder Dele Alli may be given a chance to impress despite being linked with a move away from the club in the January transfer window.

  • Possible Spurs XI (4-2-3-1) – Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Moura, Alli, Son, Kane

After their game with Bristol City was postponed at the weekend, Thomas Frank had extra time to prepare for this fixture and his main selection dilemma is whether to go with ex-Liverpool winger Sergi Canos or Tariqe Fosu-Henry on the left wing.

Other than that, the Brentford side will likely select itself once again after a very impressive run of form in recent weeks.

  • Possible Brentford XI (4-4-2) – Raya, Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry, Dasilva, Janelt, Jensen, Mbuemo, Toney, Canos.

Our Predictions for Tottenham v Brentford

As good as Brentford have been over the last couple of months in particular, it is hard to go against the Premier League side here. Spurs were good winners over Leeds at the weekend, a result that they very much needed, and they will be confident heading into this game.

I can’t see Jose Mourinho really picking a ‘weak’ team as such, but he will rotate players, but I think Son and Kane will start and that will be enough for Spurs to have that extra quality in the final third to claim a win.

Brentford may have beaten a number of Premier League sides in this competition so far to reach this stage, but I feel that Tottenham may be just a game too far for them.

Our Top Tips

  • Full Time Result – Tottenham to win – 9/20
  • Correct Score – Tottenham to win 3-1 – 11/1
  • Result & Both Teams to Score – Tottenham & Yes – 2/1

Manchester United v Manchester City

These two teams shared a 0-0 draw in the Premier League just a few weeks back and it is fair to say that they are the two most in-form teams in the division at the moment in terms of picking up wins. United are second in the table on goal difference behind Liverpool, while City lie 5th, four points behind the top two but with a game in hand on them.

They also met at this stage of the same competition last season, with Manchester City progressing in a two-legged semifinal, after winning the away leg 3-1 at Old Trafford and then losing the home leg.

With this being a derby game and both sides in great form, it promises to be a cracking winner-takes-all semifinal clash.

Team News and Possible Team Selections

Having beaten Aston Villa at the weekend, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will likely pick a stronger team for this game than their FA Cup 3rd Round game with Watford at the weekend. As such, I expect a strong United side with perhaps only goalkeeper David DeGea dropping out of the team for Dean Henderson to replace him.

United could bring in Nemanja Matic into midfield for a more physical presence, but the form of Fred and McTominay has been a feature for United this season. The Serbian could still come in for Pogba, should Solskjaer elect to pick a more defensive minded team to cope with City’s attacking threat.

  • Possible Man Utd XI (4-3-3) – Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Bailly, Maguire, Fred, McTominay, Matic, Rashford, Fernandes, Martial.

Despite losing a number of first team players to illness, City were superb in their 3-1 win over Chelsea at the weekend and Pep Guardiola has already indicated his intention to pick a strong team for this game and rest players for their FA Cup tie with Birmingham at the weekend.

With limited options, it is difficult to see City making wholesale changes for this game, but the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Fernandinho could come in. Sergio Aguero doesn’t seem fit enough to start the game but will likely be introduced from the bench. Ederson will remain absent with Steffen set to keep his place in goal.

  • Possible Man City XI (4-3-3) – Steffen, Cancelo, Zinchenko, Dias, Stones, Rodrigo, Gundogan, Silva.B, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling

Our Predictions for Manchester United v Manchester City

This one could well be very closely fought, and it would not surprise me to see extra time or even penalties needed to decide the winner here. The league game between the two was very tight, unusually so for two attack-minded teams, and I think this game will likely be similar.

Both sides will try to hit on the counterattack and the team that does this most effectively will likely come out on top. Away teams have tended to have the better of this game in recent times and after that win at Chelsea at the weekend, City will be very confident.

I think we may well need extra time and penalties to decide who wins, but I think City make it through either in extra time or via penalties.

Our Top Tips

  • Full Time Result – Draw – 14/5
  • Correct Score – Manchester United 1-1 Manchester City – 13/2
  • Result & Both Teams to Score – Draw & Yes – 15/4

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of Monday 4th January 2021 at 8.50am