Northampton v Man United: Back Mata to net in comfortable win

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Jose Mourinho has had a baptism of fire at Old Trafford with Manchester United losing their last three games in all competitions, but they’re set to return to winning ways with victory at Northampton Town in tonight’s EFL Cup clash.

These two have met four times, with three United wins and one draw – the most famous being an 8-2 FA Cup win where George Best scored an almighty six goals, and it’s 100/1 that any Red Devils player scores a double hat-trick tonight.

But while a repeat of that scoreline is unlikely (400/1), a fourth successive win over the Cobblers is almost a sure-fire thing. United have beaten 13 of the last 16 lower-league sides they’ve faced competitively, swatting aside the likes of Ipswich Town and Derby County last season.

The Cobblers’ long unbeaten run which saw them stroll to the League Two title would have made them troublesome opponents a few months ago, but they’ve lost two of their last four games, including an embarrassing 3-0 humbling by Wycombe at Sixfields.

United are understandably hot favourites for victory at 3/10, with Rob Page’s men 9/1 for a famous victory, while 9/2 says we see honours even in the Midlands.

However, there’s better value in other markets for those looking to back Mourinho’s men to halt their slide.

Juan Mata is 8/5 to score anytime, a feat he managed three times in last season’s FA Cup, netting away at Derby County and Shrewsbury Town before an all-important equaliser in the final.

With the Spaniard having also featured against Yeovil Town and Cambridge United – a game he scored in – for the Red Devils, chances are that he’ll start this game, as a wise old head among younger talents.

United have tended to win their cup games against the underdogs by a two or three goal margin in recent years, so there could also be plenty of value in backing the visitors to win by two goals (3/1) or by three (9/2).

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.