Revisiting the last Manchester derby EFL Cup semi-final

Manchester United beat Colchester United 3-0 last night to book a place in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup. That’s set up a two-legged encounter with bitter rivals Manchester City next month.

The last time there was a Manchester derby in the competition’s semi-finals came in the 2009/10 season, when City were still just referred to as noisy neighbours.

We’ve taken a look back at that before looking at whether a two-legged tie suits United better than a one-off game.

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Can Carrick be part of another semi win?

City won the first leg 2-1 in 2010, before United overturned the deficit with a dramatic 3-1 Old Trafford victory, sealed by Wayne Rooney’s injury time header.

Michael Carrick scored the second goal in that second leg and will of course be part of the coaching staff looking to oversee yet another semi-final win.

In 2010, United were the established side, scooping up silverware for fun, with City trying to bridge the gap as free-spenders, led by a turncoat Carlos Tevez.

The line-up in the second leg saw United select Van der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Giggs, Fletcher; Rooney.

The strength in depth meant Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov were among the unused substitutes.

It was a false dawn for City, who still hadn’t won a title at that point. They hoped the semi-final would be their moment, but we were able to delay their rise with this enjoyable win, which meant so much at the time.

Now, it’s United who will likely be underdogs after a lean few years, seeking to stop City winning a third straight EFL Cup.

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Does a two-legged tie suit United?

The first leg of the tie is at home, where United haven’t beaten City since 2016, when Juan Mata’s goal sealed a 1-0 EFL Cup win.

United’s gameplan at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month revolved around the counter-attack, but that will be far harder to execute if City are already ahead from the first leg.

In some ways, it might be better if it was a one-off game for United to stun City like we did in that 2-1.

Can Solskjaer outwit Pep Guardiola twice within a matter of weeks? It might be a tougher ask, especially given the Spaniard will have examined how United exploited his side earlier this month.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.