Another Cagey Opening in Store at the City Ground

26th February 2017. The last time Manchester United lifted a domestic trophy. 6 years and four managers later they’ve as good a chance as any since to have their name etched on one of English football’s major pieces of silverware.

Standing in their way of another final appearance are four-times winner of the League Cup, Nottingham Forest, who themselves will be eyeing a date at Wembley in February. The legendary Brian Clough took his Forest side to six League Cup finals and twice won back-to-back trophies, so for Steve Cooper it’s a chance for to him to write his name in to the history books.

Having gained promotion last season Cooper has guided Forest to 13th in the table. They’re not exactly safe from relegation but they’ve made a decent fist of their first season back in the top flight. A cup final appearance would the icing on the cake. Bet365 make them 9/2 to qualify, with Man Utd firm favourites at 1/7.

Tonight United are 4/6 to claim a first leg lead while Forest, at 17/4, will be desperate to avoid a repeat of the Red Devils’ last visit to the City Ground when Ole Gunnar Sokskjaer famously scored four goals after coming off the the bench with just 18 minutes remaining to help his side to an 8-1 win back in 1999.

More recently Erk Ten Hag’s men won the Premier League clash between the sides by three goals to nil when they met at Old Trafford a month ago and it could be similar outcome tonight. United can count themselves unlucky not to have taken more than a point from their last two games. Late goals by Crystal Palace and Arsenal have stalled their momentum but there’s plenty still to like about their transformation under the Dutchman.

That’s epitomised by Marcus Rashford who’s now on 17 goals for the season and can’t stop scoring. The England striker is 13/8 to net tonight.

Forest go in to the game in pretty decent shape themselves. Since that defeat to United they’ve pick up eight points in four league games. The only blot on their copybook being a 4-1 defeat to Blackpool in the FA Cup when Cooper changed his entire starting XI.

There’ll be no such squad rotation at play tonight and it could be a cagey affair. Much like last night’s tie at St Mary’s it could take a while to get going as these two-legged affairs sometimes do. We profited from there being no goal before the half hour mark in that one and the goal line is set a minute earlier tonight at 29:00. Again that looks worth taking on at 5/6 with Bet365 and a goalless first half shouldn’t be discounted at 2/1 nor even money Under 1.0 on the Asian Handicap.

Super Singles

  • Nottm Forest v Man Utd – No goal before 29:00 5/6 Bet365
  • Marcus Rashford to score 13/8 Bet365 (If he starts)

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