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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020


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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

We’ll be keeping an eye on both the Premier League and League Cup games tonight.

In the latter, Man City host Man United for a chance to meet Aston Villa, who edged past Leicester last night, in the final.

City are strong favourites, having established a 3-1 lead in the first leg and outplayed United for the majority of the contest.

Solksjaer has called on the Red Devils to channel to the spirit of their improbable comeback against PSG in the Champions League last season.

The Red Devils actually have a pretty decent record against City at the Etihad of late, winning three, drawing one and losing one.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will hope to continue their remarkable Premier League unbeaten run against West Ham at London Stadium.

A victory will send them 19 points clear at the top of the table, while anything else would see them drop points for just the second time this season in the Premier League.

manchester-city-v-manchester-united-carabao-cup-semi-final-second-leg-etihad-stadium Manchester City fans in the stands ahead of the Carabao Cup Semi Final. Source: Martin Rickett

Confirmation of tonight’s teams…

We’re underway in both games…

It’s been pretty cagey start in the Manchester derby.

City have had most of the ball and controlled the game so far, with United defending in numbers.

City have their first big chance.

Aguero’s header forces a diving save from De Gea.

Moments later, the Spaniard’s legs stop Mahrez’s shot.

There are claims for a penalty, after Sterling goes down under a challenge from Maguire as a cross is played in.

The referee turns the hosts’ appeals down, after consulting VAR.

City have started this game very well.

Liverpool have had 81% possession so far against West Ham.

However, the Reds have yet to carve out a clear-cut opening.

Good link-up play between Sterling and Aguero.

The Argentine striker ends up forcing another decent save from De Gea.

It’s all too easy for City to get through United at the moment.

Still no sign of a breakthrough at London Stadium.

It’s been a frustrating 20 minutes for Liverpool.

As I type, De Bruyne blasts the ball over the bar, after being set up by Aguero.

Mahrez makes a well-timed run and is picked out via Walker’s long pass.

Nevertheless, Aguero can’t direct a header from the Algerian’s cross on target.

De Bruyne plays a beautiful through pass to Sterling.

However, Harry Maguire does really well to get back and make the tackle on his fellow England international as he sprints towards goal.

With half an hour played, there still hasn’t been a shot on target at London Stadium.

The Hammers haven’t even had a shot off target yet, while Liverpool have only managed two.  

Good play from Robertson, who produces a dangerous cross.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, it eludes everyone.

Out of nothing, United lead.

The ball falls to Nemanja Matic on the edge of the area, and he hammers it home first time with aplomb.

It’s his first goal since December 2018 and United’s first shot on target in this game.

Meanwhile, Liverpool also lead.

A Mo Salah penalty sends the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Issa Diop had originally been adjudged to have fouled Divock Origi in the box.

Silva escapes Shaw.

His low cross is a dangerous one, but there is no one for City in the right position to convert it.

Pep Guardiola’s side have actually played quite well, but United have punished their one defensive lapse.

City have the ball in the net, but it’s correctly ruled out.

It’s a typical City move, with rapid attacking play culminating in Sterling converting De Bruyne’s cross, but the celebrations prove premature.

Nervy moment for United.

Lindelof plays a dangerously short backpass. 

De Gea rushes out, and his clearance deflects off the onrushing Aguero and goes out of play.

manchester-city-v-manchester-united-carabao-cup-semi-final-second-leg-etihad-stadium Manchester City fans set off a flare during the Carabao Cup Semi Final. Source: Martin Rickett

It’s been a slightly strange first half in both instances.

Man City have dominated United for the most part, and have created some decent chances, but the Red Devils have been more clinical than their opponents and consequently lead against the run of play.

In London, as has so often been the case this season, Liverpool have been nowhere near their best against a stubborn West Ham rearguard, yet have still found a way to put themselves in a winning position.

The second half has begun in both games…

United have made an enforced change at the break.

Mason Greenwood picked up a knock in the first half, and so has been replaced by Daniel James.

Chance for United.

Fred’s cross is headed over by Maguire.

Liverpool are on their way to another three points, it seems.

A counter-attack sees Salah produce a brilliant ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who finishes coolly to double his side’s advantage.

United have shown some attacking ambition in this second half.

Sky show an interesting stat. In the first 26 minutes, City were winning 9-0 on shots. Since then, United are winning 3-0 on shots.

Sterling goes through on goal after a lovely pass by De Bruyne.

The winger has a chance to shoot, but hesitates, allowing a number of United defenders to get back, and he eventually blazes the ball over the bar.

De Bruyne robs Wan-Bissaka, but his subsequent cross is straight into De Gea’s arms.

City are upping the tempo now and looking very threatening.

Meanwhile, in the other game, West Ham are showing signs of life.

Both Snodgrass and Ogbonna have gone close for the hosts in recent minutes.

United break. Fred plays through Martial, but the French attacker can’t find the target, though he is at a difficult angle and under pressure from the defender.

United then make a change. Lingard, who has been disappointing, is replaced by Pereira.

A change for City.

Mahrez goes off, and David Silva comes on in his place.

A corner is only half cleared.

The ball falls to Walker, who drills an absolute rocket that De Gea has to parry away to safety.

City carve out another great opening. Harry Maguire plays a stray pass, but David Silva opts to square it when he really should have shot and United get defender back to curb the threat.

The hosts could come to rue all these missed chances.

Matic gets a second booking.

It’s the right decision. He makes a cynical foul on Gundogan to stop a City counter-attack.

Despite being down to 10 men, United make an attacking change.

Mata replaces Luke Shaw.

Liverpool have also made a couple of changes in recent minutes.

Fabinho and Keita are on, and Alexander-Arnold and Origi are off.

Walker is looking a little worse for wear following a collision with Otamendi.

He should be okay to continue though.

City have the ball in the net, but it’s offside again.

Silva plays through Aguero, who flicks the ball past De Gea.

Replays reveal he was offside by inches.

United get a free kick in a good position on the edge of the area, but Fred shoots straight into the wall.

We’re set for a tense finish.

John Stones replaces De Bruyne.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time.

James crosses but it’s too high for Maguire.

The centre-back is now operating as a makeshift striker.

Meanwhile, City make another change — Aguero is replaced by Jesus.

So that’s that. Two predictable outcomes in the end.

Liverpool, while rarely getting out of second gear, were too good for West Ham and are now a remarkable 19 points clear at the top.

Salah, as has been the case so often this season, was the difference maker, with a goal and an assist.

Meanwhile, while disappointed to lose on the night, City will be relieved more than anything else to reach the League Cup final, having made life difficult for themselves at times.

They started well, but when the goal didn’t come earlier on, a sense of anxiety became increasingly apparent, and was particularly evidenced by their wayward finishing.

The better team over the two legs have certainly gone through, but United will still feel they might have got more from the game.

They had City on the ropes in the second half, but Matic’s red card killed their momentum to a degree and the hosts were unlucky not to score at least once in the end, particularly with a ‘goal’ that was offside by the tightest of margins.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow and you can read our report here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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