Two months ago, with both teams looking exceptionally strong, not many people would have predicted that tonight’s EFL cup game between Manchester United and Manchester City would have the importance that it does.
Both managers are in desperate need of a win to steady the ship, but both will want to give their fringe players the opportunity to prove they deserve to start ahead of their struggling teammates.
Jose Mourinho has some big decisions to make, with the obvious call for him to make being dropping Zlatan Ibrahimovic after a bad game at Stamford Bridge. Tonight gives the United boss a chance to experiment, and if the Red Devils find success with a more mobile front three it could spell the end of Zlatan’s run in the first team for now.
It seemed unthinkable not long ago, but the giant Swede just isn’t the kind of striker you want in a side that isn’t dominating games. A Lingard-Rashford-Martial front line would be much more effective at harrying City’s ball playing defenders, and eliciting the same mistakes that Southampton did at the weekend.