The draw for the semi-finals of the Carabao (League) Cup was made at the conclusion of last night’s quarter-finals.
It’s a competition which overwhelmingly sees almost all the big clubs rest their stars, preferring to blood youngsters to give them a taste of first-team action, but once it gets to the latter stages, it’s often a case of reverting to type.
This season will be no exception with Manchester United about to face Manchester City and in another derby, this time in the Midlands, high-flying Leicester City take on Aston Villa.
United and City have twice met at this stage of the competition. Back in the days of Best Law and Charlton, Bell, Summerbee and Lee (1969), City prevailed 4-3 on aggregate and more recently in January 2010 when Wayne Rooney headed an added time winner at Old Trafford, giving United a 3-1 win and overall 4-3 aggregate success.
History dictates the two-legged semi-final should be another classic, and the intensity generated by a modern-day Manchester derby will undoubtedly add all the spice required and more!
On each occasion one Manchester club has prevailed over the other in a League Cup semi-final, the winners have gone on to win the competition’s final.
City will be doubly determined after losing 1-2 at home to United recently in the Premier League.
Leicester City and Aston Villa have met once previously (1999/2000 season) in the semi-finals of the competition. City’s swashbuckling, Scottish centre-back, Matty Elliott grabbed the only goal over 180 minutes right on the stroke of half-time, in the 2nd Leg at Filbert Street.
Leicester in those days under the tutelage of Martin O’Neill, included current Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, while in opposition in the Aston Villa back four was Gareth Southgate, now of course boss of the England national team.
Like the Manchester clubs, Leicester went on to claim the cup with a 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the final.
The games will take place in the weeks commencing 6 and 27 January.
Manchester United and Leicester City will be at home in their first legs.
There’s a place in next season’s Europa League for the competition winners.