Pep Guardiola has handed the fit-again Nicolas Otamendi a start in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United, as he makes eight changes to Manchester City’s starting XI.

The Argentine is one of four replacements in defence, with Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho also returning after missing Saturday’s 4-1 win over Port Vale.

Rodrigo, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling are all recalled for the derby too, meaning Claudio Bravo, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva are the only players retained from our FA Cup victory.

It means City have plenty of star quality amongst the substitutes, with Ederson, Eric Garcia, Joao Cancelo, David Silva, Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero all on the bench for this clash.

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Team news

City: Bravo, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho (c), Mendy, Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling.

Subs: Ederson, Garcia, Cancelo, Silva, Foden, Jesus, Aguero.

United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Jones, Lindelof, Williams, Fred, Andreas, James, Lingard, Rashford (c), Greenwood.

Subs: Romero, Dalot, Matic, Chong, Gomes, Mata, Martial.

Possible formation

As was the case against Port Vale, this looks like another game where we’ll have to wait until kick-off for precise confirmation on how City will line-up.

Whether Rodrigo is again deployed as part of a three-man defence is the biggest pre-match question, though Fernandinho and Otamendi will operate at centre-half.

Walker and Mendy will play at full-back if we employ a back four, or wing-back should the Spanish midfielder play as a third centre-half.

Gundogan will be charged with dictating the tempo in midfield, with De Bruyne, Bernardo and Mahrez the creative trio feeding Sterling, who, based on previous line-ups, you would expect to adopt the central role in the absence of Aguero and Jesus.

One thing we are certain of is that City will be fluid in attack, so those forward roles could well interchange between players.

Last time

Facts and stats

  • We have won six of our last nine away games against United in all competitions (W6 D1 L2), one more than we managed in the previous 39 at Old Trafford.
  • United have knocked us out in each of our last two League Cup ties, in the 2009/10 semi-final and the fourth round in 2016/17.
  • Since losing 1-0 in that fourth round tie, we are unbeaten in 15 League Cup matches (W11 D4). Chelsea were the last team to enjoy a longer run, between 2004 and 2008 (18 games), though they were eliminated on penalties during that run.
  • Pep has won his last five domestic semi-final matches with us, since losing 2-1 to Arsenal in the 2016/17 FA Cup semi-final. Four of those wins were in the League Cup, as we won both legs against Bristol City in 2017/18 and Burton Albion in 2018/19.
  • Since the start of the 2013/14 season, Sterling has been involved in more League Cup goals than any other player (14 – 8 goals, 6 assists).