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Wembley beckons for Manchester United, who welcome Nottingham Forest to Old Trafford with a three-goal lead in the bag from the first leg of the EFL Cup semifinals. It will take something spectacular for the visitors to reach the EFL Cup final and as such Erik ten Hag might be inclined to rotate his side more than usual. Similarly, who could blame Forest if their focus shifted towards Sunday’s clash with Leeds United at the bottom of the Premier League. Still, this is a club that has a rich heritage in this competition and if they were to overcome their first-leg deficit it would make for quite an addition to Forest’s history. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 1 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Old Trafford — Manchester, United Kingdom
- Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Manchester United -275; Draw +333; Nottingham Forest +600 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Manchester United: All was rosy in the Old Trafford garden until Wednesday lunchtime brought with it a hammer blow, Christian Eriksen sidelined for much of the remainder of the season with the ankle injury he suffered in the FA Cup fourth-round win over Reading. As Ten Hag himself noted, the Dane is almost irreplaceable, though they did bring in Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich.
Eriksen’s injury may have a more profound impact on Ten Hag’s thinking regardless of new signings. The United boss has not been one to heavily rotate a side that is competing on four fronts, asking a great deal of Marcus Rashford and Casemiro, among others. In this game of all games, surely there is an argument to simply play the backups and trust them to hold on to a convincing lead?
Nottingham Forest: It would hardly be a transfer window if Forest were not adding more bodies at the close of the day. Felipe joined, so did Jonjo Shelvey, and they also added goalkeeper Keylor Navas from PSG.
“Like any window, you want to close it with the squad in a stronger place,” Steve Cooper said ahead of the window closing. “We’ve been unfortunate in picking up injuries and illnesses as well and that’s added to the jigsaw of putting the squad together. We are working away and some things could happen, but some could not. We have every scenario in terms of ins and outs so it could be nothing or could be a lot.”
Expect Forest to go down swinging but ultimately come up short. Pick: Manchester United 0, Nottingham Forest 1