By Ollie Cranham-Young
- United hope to win tomorrow night after two draws in a row
- High-Flying Middlesbrough who are hoping to earn promotion back to the top flight stand in United’s way
- A win for United would see them progress to the Quarter-Finals of the competition
Following Sunday afternoon’s frustrating encounter with arch rivals Manchester City, United look to get back to winning ways after their recent questionable form which has seen them achieve two draws and a loss from their last four games.
We turn our attention back to the League Cup as United prepare to face high-flying championship side Middlesbrough tomorrow night looking to progress to the Quarter-Finals of the competition.
Louis Van Gaal’s side will be looking to go all the way to the final held in February at Wembley and United fans will hope to see the players become victorious in the competition, something which they haven’t done since 2010.
We all know that Louis Van Gaal is not taking the competition lightly and does not want a repeat of last year’s abysmal exit to League One side MK Dons, and he has shown this by using experienced players such as Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as a mix of youth products like Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard.
A win for United tomorrow night would see them become one of the favourites to lift the cup in February along with Chelsea and Manchester City providing they win their ties against Stoke City and Crystal Palace respectively.
United’s recent form has been somewhat questionable. In their last four games, we have seen an appalling loss to top four rivals Arsenal, then a magnificent display away at Everton, followed by two draws to CSKA Moscow and Manchester City both of which were played within five days.
United currently sit fourth in the Barclays Premier League table only two points off league leaders Manchester City who also play at home tomorrow night against Crystal Palace.
It will be the first time in over three years that both Manchester clubs have been playing at home on the same night. United will also be hoping to boost their confidence ahead of a tricky away fixture to Londoners Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon who have also had a strong start to the season as they sit in 7th place and five points off United.
Middlesbrough, however, have had an excellent start to their Championship campaign. They are currently 4th in the league standings but only four points off the top.
Aitor Karanka’s side will be looking to earn promotion back to the top flight this season, and a win over United would certainly make a statement to the rest of the Championship. A win over United would be a perfect start to a week in which also sees them host Charlton Athletic at home on Saturday.
Louis Van Gaal is looking to make a few changes to his side following their recent busy schedule and the fact that it is he inferior of the two cup competitions.
He has confirmed that Antonio Valencia will unfortunately miss out after sustaining a foot injury against Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. James Wilson and Andreas Pereira, who also featured on the scoresheet last time around will be in contention as Van Gaal looks to shuffle his pack ahead of tomorrow night’s game.
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has hinted in his pre match conference that he will possibly make some changes to his side as he makes promotion back to the top flight his side’s number one priority. Stewart Downing is the danger man that United need to be aware of and he recently netted a brilliant free-kick against Wolves in the Championship on Saturday.
Louis Van Gaal has urged his players to perform well in this competition, as he is on the quest for silverware after receiving nothing following his first year in charge of the Reds.
If United managed to emerge victorious in the competition it would certainly boost their confidence as they hopefully will be mounting a title challenge still, when February comes around. A win tomorrow night would see the Reds progress to the Quarter Finals of the competition and only two stages off the final.
It would be nice to see United bag some silverware before the end of the season, with United’s last piece coming at the beginning of the 2013/14 season(Community Shield) but United will be hoping to give something back to the fans after a couple of hard years watching them recently.