The big matches are coming thick and fast for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Quick on the heels of his first experience of the Red Devils’ rivalry with Liverpool and his first return to Stamford Bridge since his second tenure at Chelsea ended prematurely, the Portuguese will do battle with Pep Guardiola again.
The first tussle between United and Manchester City was a thrilling experience for the neutral, with the visiting Citizens overrunning their local rivals in the first half, before Mourinho’s men fought back in the second.
The next edition of the rivalry arrives in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night. Here are three things you can expect from the game:
This match arrives just three days after the Red Devils’ sojourn to west London and City have played host Southampton.
As a result, it’s likely that high squad numbers will feature on both teamsheets, but particularly for Guardiola, who fielded youth-teamers Angelino and Aleix Garcia Serrano from the start in the last round and flooded his subs bench with many more.
If the two starting lineups are heavily rotated as expected, then there is little chance that the two teams will produce the kind of encounter the regulars served up at Old Trafford.
Old-timers like Michael Carrick and Yaya Toure may well be household names, but are no longer associated with the kind of football that their replacements Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne produce.
Pre-match Managerial Focus
Unfortunately this appears to be an unavoidable symptom of having two of the best managers in the world working in the same country, never mind at two rival clubs.
Mourinho and Guardiola’s history is long running and well documented, but that won’t stop the British media relying on them to drive the pre-match narrative here.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing