Manchester United v Southampton
Jose Mourinho has won 10 of his 12 cup finals since 2003 and his total career trophy haul currently stands at 23. To give you some perspective he needs to more than double that to catch Sir Alex Ferguson, but the EFL Cup gives him the perfect platform to start doing just that.
Back in 2005 Mourinho won his first English trophy, this one. His Chelsea side then went on to also win the league. Although this season that is out of the question as his previous club seem to be unstoppable, there is no reason why he can’t create a legacy of his own at United starting Sunday.
This weekend he is likely to be without Mkhitaryan and Carrick but there are more than capable replacements available to him. Such is United’s depth that Rooney, Martial, Mata, Lingard or Rashford could step into midfield come Sunday. Carrick is likely to be replaced by Herrera or Fellaini. The one certainty in attack will be that Ibrahimovic will start. That is not a luxury afforded to his counterpart Puel.
Southampton have done well to get this far, putting out both Liverpool and Arsenal, as well as Palace and Sunderland. The club are not however without their problems this season, with goals a big concern. They’ve scored 7 on their way to the final compared with United’s 11. Only 5 teams have scored less than them all season in the Premier League. They’ll be hoping that new signing Gabbiadini will be complimented with goals from Rodriguez and Boufal.
Somewhat surprisingly they are yet to concede in the EFL Cup. The absence of Van Dijk and the sale of Fonte however may see that come to an end. Expect the strongest team possible to be fielded, with youth a prevalent theme.
Despite Southampton’s good run I cannot see past a United, and Mourinho, win. Don’t expect it to go to extra time or penalties either. 2-1.