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Manchester United vs Manchester City at Old Trafford

Old Trafford Referee : Martin Atkinson
6th January 2021 7:45 PM (GMT)
  • 0 Manchester United

  • 2 Manchester City

    • ‘50' John Stones
    • ‘83' Fernandinho


Commentary By Rob Pollard



I am going to love you and leave you. 

What a night - swept aside United at Old Trafford and made it to our fourth Carabao Cup final in a row.

Stones is the best in the world. Dias is one of the finest signings we've made. Fernandinho was outstanding. Ilkay was silky. 

Goodnight to City fans everywhere. 

See you Sunday for the FA Cup! 


Pep [asked if Walker and Jesus will be back for Sunday]

"It’s a mystery - no one knows what happens when you get back from COVID. 

"Some recover well, some recover bad. We will see training sessions and see how they react. 

"When I speak to them, they said they feel tired - ten days without training. 

"But tomorrow training, next day training and we will analyse how they feel."



"We are playing better. We have found more passes, finding each other, all the players together after the game. 

"When someone defends, they congratulate each other. It’s a group of guys, who are impressive, four times in a row in the final. 

"Incredibly good to be back at Wembley to play the final."



Quick word on Ilkay Gundogan this evening. 

He was brilliant. Popped up all over the show and provided quality throughout. 

He's playing brilliantly. 



"We played good again. 

"It's about consistency. we didn't have a preseason - we played our first official game without a friendly. 

"But I have the feeling now everyone is there."



Brilliant City performance tonight. 

Colin Bell would have been delighted. We've done our greatest proud. 

4x Carabao Cup finals in a row. 


John Stones

"I'm working hard, playing as well as I can and giving everything. 

"Staying true to myself, trying to help and playing big games is something I thrive on."


John Stones

"Firstly I'd like to send our condolences to Colin Bell's family from everyone in the dressing room. How we played today was a reflection of him and I'm sure he's looking down today

"Another final for us and another derby win against a top team."


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Talk about Captain Fantastic!

"Fernandinho has been immense tonight and that goal caps off a stunning display from our Brazilian midfielder.

"City have been superb in this second half and that second goal was no less than we deserved.

"Surely another trip to Wembley beckons now?"


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Still a way to go of course but so far City’s defence has been magnificent. Again.

"John Stones and Ruden Dias are forging some partnership at the heart of the line but Oleks Zinchenko, Joao Cancelo and Zack Steffen have all been excellent so far too.

"They will need to keep their focus as there are ominous signs United are stepping up the ante.

"Huge final 15 minutes looming here."


Far from over

Fernandes curls one over the bar from a decent position. 

Could, and probably should, have done a bit better. 

Not over by a long stretch. 


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"A sea change in the mood music here at Old Trafford since that John Stones goal.

"We’re playing with much more pace, poise and have an extra spring in our collective step.

"A brilliant move sees a superb Cancelo ball put in Sterling insider the box but Dean Henderson just beats Raz to the ball.

"Moments later  the United keeper has pulled off a wonder save to deny Riyad Mahrez.

"A second goal could be decisive you feel."


Warning signal

Fernandes whips the ball in, Stones gets the slightest contact on the header and it's just enough to confuse Maguire, whose header is off target. 



Cancelo with an almost-perfect cross - just too far ahead of the outstretched Foden, who can't connect. 

If he had, it would have been 2-0. 


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"John Stones has been immense these past few weeks – and his star is shining bright again tonight.

"The central defender is there at the right time once more to guide home Phil Foden’s teasing free-kick for his first goal since November 2017 – and what a time to strike.

"City emboldened, United stunned with Cancelo’s shot just whizzing over.

"Just the start we wanted to the second half!"



It's Foden's free-kick that takes out so many United players - and Stones scores from a few yards out with his thigh.

He deserves that goal for the form he's shown in recent weeks - what a player he is!


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Both sets of players have more than earned their half-time refreshments.

"No quarter asked or given – just as you would expect with a derby.

"It’s been a game you can’t take your eyes for a second – so much to enjoy about our play but United so dangerous on the break too.

"With so much at stake the first goal will be absolutely pivotal you feel."


A very intense first half. It rolled off slightly in the last five, ten minutes, but it was absorbing before that. 

Two teams who are very much at it. 

Huge 45 minutes. 



Excitement and pace has rolled off somewhat in the last few minutes. 

Players appear to be catching their breath after what has been, at times, a frantic opening 40 minutes. 


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Such an absorbing contest this. Would have been worthy of the final.

"We have dominated in terms of possession and territory and Phil Foden has seen a second effort for us chalked out for offside.

"But United’s pace is also a major threat on the counter with City’s defence needed to be alert at all times.

"Given the first 30 odd minutes the only surprise is that it is still goalless."


End to end

Rashford mis-controls inside the area - if he had brought that down, he had a clear chance to score. 

Straight down the other end, Cancelo plays a dangerous ball towards Gundogan but United get it clear. 

Good game, this. 


Offside goal for a THIRD time

Zinchenko with a brilliant ball down the left - Foden collects it in an offside position before galloping forward and finishing superbly.

That would have been a fine goal. 


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Frantic, feisty and fantastic to watch.

"You can’t take your eyes off this for a second.

"Already two moments of absolute quality have already illuminated the game.

"First, Zack Steffen produced a peach of save, diving to his left to claw away Bruno Fernandes’ goal bound shot.

"Then at the other Kevin De Bruyne smacked the inside of the post with a screamer of a shot after cutting a swathe through United’s defence."



Steffen denies Fernandes with a fine stop. 

Fernandes hit it first time from 20 yards and that was curling into the top corner. 

Very good save. 


Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Already arguably more action inside the first 10 minutes here than in the whole of the recent league game.

"Both sides have had the ball in the net but each of the efforts have been ruled out for offside.

"Plenty of intent being displayed by City and United so far."


Offside AGAIN

City this time put the ball in the net but again it's ruled out. 

Foden plays a beautiful low ball across the area and Gundogan taps home - but the flag is up. 

Twice in five minutes. 



Ball in the net for United - but flag up.  

Rashford offside when Martial slipped him through but before we knew that, his shot was saved by Steffen, hit Stones and went in. 

Ruled out, thankfully.  


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Wonderfully moving stuff as the City squad come out all wearing retro City shirts with number 8 emblazoned on the back in honour of our legend Colin Bell who so sadly passed away yesterday.

"A fitting and emotional tribute to the King of the Kippax and a giant of a man whose enormous contribution to our Club will never, ever be forgotten."


Lescott on Manchester derbies

"At the start it was just a kind of reduce the 'noisy neighbour' tag but as time went on and they realised we were serious about the direction we were going in, it became a lot more realistic and even.

"We weren't going to OT hoping to win, we were going believing we would win. 

"It’s a different kind of beast now. The greatest respect you can pay the team is if it’s 4-0 you wouldn’t be surprised anymore."


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"Extensive pre-match drills just completed by the City squad who were in great spirits.

"United players just rounding off their pre-match build up too before heading down the tunnel.

"Less than 15 minutes until kick-off and the anticipation is building here."


Pep on Carabao Cup

“It is no different facing United or other contenders. We play finals against Arsenal, against Chelsea with Mauricio Sarri, who’s an incredible manager, we face different opponents and last season it was Aston Villa.

“We know exactly what Aston Villa this season has done, so every year it has been against tough opponents. This season is the same. When you play the cup competitions at the end of these competitions you have to face tough, tough opponents.”


Pep on his team selection

"We don't have much more! 

"Sergio [Aguero] is almost ready - I think he will be ready for FA Cup. 

"Kyle and Gabby are here because they overcome [Covid], they are negative today, but we don't know the reaction after their illness will be. 

"We don't have many options. The U23 players are here to helps us."


Foden on Colin Bell

"He was a massive player for this club, possibly the greatest. 

"He’s got a stand named after him, he’s going to be sadly missed.

"It'll be special for the team to show our respect to him and we’re looking forward to wearing his shirt today."


From Neil Leigh at Old Trafford

"It’s already close to freezing here at Old Trafford with the temperature only set to dip below freezing after kick-off – but that said it’s a perfect night for a game of this magnitude.

"No wind, the playing surface at Old Trafford looks immaculate and both sides come into the match on the back of some excellent form of late.

"With a place at Wembley at stake for the victors, not to mention the Manchester bragging rights, it promises to be an absorbing contest.

"Can’t wait for kick-off."


From our reporter John Edwards

The key question before kick-off is, who will lead the line up front for City?

Kevin De Bruyne did a fine job at Stamford Bridge three days ago, but Mahrez's inclusion suggests the responsibility could well fall to Raheem Sterling, with the Belgian midfielder reverting to his usual position as City's most advanced midfielder.

Of course, Phil Foden could also adopt the midfield role, allowing De Bruyne to remain in attack, so as always, we'll have to wait until we get under way to see how Guardiola has lined his team up.

Other than that, the usual 4-3-3 formation should shape up as expected. Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko will reprise their full-back roles, with Ruben Dias and John Stones continuing their blossoming partnership in the centre of defence.

Fernandinho will sit deepest in midfield, with Gundogan ahead of him. Should De Bruyne start in midfield, Foden and Mahrez will flank Sterling in the attacking trident.


Pep on Colin Bell

"Yeah, a sad day for all of us, especially his family. 

"On behalf of the squad, we send our best to the family.

"This club belongs to the players who made it what it is - players like Sir Colin Bell."


Lescott on Colin Bell

"David Silva instantly springs to mind, so humble. Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard, what they all have in common is they’re so humble. 

"It might come from their own expectations but Colin Bell had that aura about him. We talk about statues and it’s great but a stand, that’s everlasting, he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Man City, the club and the fans because he’s being represented at every home game."


All to play for

Winner tonight plays Tottenham in the final after their win over Brentford last night. 

And, don't forget, extra time will be played if scores are level after 90 minutes (unlike previous rounds, which were straight to pens). 


Lescott on Colin Bell

"Exceptional talent. 

"He’s not someone I knew much about before I came to the club but I can honestly say as soon as I met him, such a gentleman. 

"So humble in regards to what he’s achieved. You’d never assume him to be as modest as he is, given what he’s done for Manchester City."


City team news

Starting Eleven

13. Zack Steffen

3. Rúben Dias

5. John Stones

7. Raheem Sterling

8. Ilkay Gündogan

11. Oleksandr Zinchenko

17. Kevin De Bruyne

25. Fernandiho (C)

26. Riyad Mahrez

27. João Cancelo

47. Phil Foden


85. James Trafford

2. Kyle Walker

9. Gabriel Jesus

10. Sergio Agüero

16. Rodrigo

22. Benjamin Mendy

61. Felix Nmecha

78. Taylor Harwood-Bellis

79. Luke Mbete


More of the same, City

Our performance at Stamford Bridge was superb and we need to maintain those standards. 

The 16 first-half minutes that saw us score three times were a joy to watch. Chelsea simply couldn't compete. 

More of the same tonight, please. 


Khaldoon Al Mubarak on Colin Bell

“Colin Bell will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greatest players and the very sad news today of his passing will affect everybody connected to our club.

“I am fortunate to be able to speak regularly to his former manager and teammates, and it’s clear to me that Colin was a player held in the highest regard by all those who had the privilege of playing alongside him or seeing him play. The passage of time does little to erase the memories of his genius. The fact that we have a stand at the Etihad Stadium named after Colin speaks volumes about the importance of his contribution to this club.

“Colin was incredibly humble and a modest and understated man with an obvious inner strength of character. He was clearly comfortable with who he was and what he had achieved in the game. For the rest of us, there is always the thought of what might have been if injury had not affected his career. Undoubtedly more trophies for City and far more than the 48 England caps to his name.

“Our Club has lost a true great. Everyone’s thoughts and best wishes are with Colin’s family.”



We've won this trophy five of the last seven seasons. 

An amazing record. 

Since a young City side last exited the competition – ironically at the hands of United in a 1-0 fourth-round encounter in October 2016 during the early part of Pep's first season in charge - the Club have become a by-word for Carabao Cup success.

In the ensuing four and a bit years since that 1-0 Old Trafford loss – or what will have been 1,533 days to be precise by the time of Wednesday’s kick-off – we have gone from strength to strength in the competition.

Our success in lifting the 2018 Carabao Cup via a 3-0 win over Arsenal not only precipitated a period of sustained League Cup dominance but also served as the springboard for a haul of silverware unparalleled in the Club’s history.

That 2017/18 triumph was followed later that season by City going on to lift the Premier League and become the first English side to amass 100 points in the process.

The following campaign saw City retain the Carabao Cup, by virtue of an absorbing penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea, in the midst of an unforgettable season that saw us became the first side in history to win all four major English honours.

And that Carabao Cup success story continued uninterrupted last term, with City lifting the famous trophy for a third successive season after an absorbing 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Wembley in March of 2020.


More from Pep

“We don’t have many players and, like I said after the first press conference, to play one or two games is OK but if this sustains for a long time and I can only use 14 or 15 players it will be more difficult.

 “Like everyone in the world, we adapt, you have to adjust our lives and our professions as much as possible and we don’t have an alternative.

"The most important thing is that the guys who have COVID can recover well and the guys handle it well and try to avoid it as much as possible.”



"The team has won it three times in a row and we are in the semi-final for the fourth time in a row, so it means a lot,” said Pep.

“If it were not important then we would drop it before. It is the semi-final, we cannot expect a more difficult rival than we are going to face, but we have the desire to play well and get to another final.”


The King

Colin Bell is widely regarded to be the finest City player of his generation, making 501 appearances and scoring 153 goals for the Club during a 13-year stay.

Few players have left such an indelible mark on City.

You can leave a message in our online book of condolences. I'll post the link soon... 



Good evening, everyone. 

A huge semi-final tonight is our main focus - but expect plenty of Colin Bell talk after yesterday's sad news. Our greatest taken from us, aged 74. 

Our thoughts are with his family -  wife Marie, children Jon and Dawn and grandchildren, Luke, Mark, Isla and Jack - he'll never, ever be forgotten. 

Tonight we will celebrate the life and career of a wonderful footballer and a Manchester City icon. 


We're Not Really Here 💙

Shaun Goater and Joleon Lescott will be the guests on our We’re Not Really Here matchday show tonight.

The pair will join presenter Natalie Pike in the CityTV studio at the Etihad Stadium with the pre-match show getting under way at 18:45 (UK), one hour before we kick-off against the Reds.

They’ll be regaling us with their stories and offering their expert analysis as We’re Not Really Here provides you with a City-centric view to your matchday coverage.

The show is available to watch on all our digital platforms and also includes a half-time summary and 30-minutes of post-match reaction when our guests will dissect the game and respond to the fans’ Man of the Match poll, questions, and comments.

We will also hear from a player after the game and, time permitting, watch Guardiola’s post-match press conference.

You can get involved and share your thoughts by using the hashtag #WNRH on Twitter.


Kevin De Bruyne 💬

“I think at the beginning of the season we had many difficulties - many injuries, no pre-season, etc.

"Mentally and physically, we weren't ready for the new season.

"I think over the last month, we recovered a few players, we raised our level, we have won a few matches and we have gone up a few places in the table.

"We still have another eight games in January in all competitions, it's going to be tough, but I think we are ready for the battle and that is what matters."


Club Journalist Neil Leigh 📝

"City will step out at Old Trafford for our Carabao Cup semi-final with Manchester United on Wednesday seeking to extend what has become a remarkable run of success in the competition.

"Tournament winners for the past three seasons, under the inspired stewardship of Pep Guardiola City have become the standard bearers for the English League Cup.

"Since a young City side last exited the competition – ironically at the hands of United in a 1-0 fourth-round encounter in October 2016 during the early part of Guardiola’s first season in charge - the Club have become a by-word for Carabao Cup success.

"In the ensuing four and a bit years since that 1-0 Old Trafford loss – or what will have been 1,533 days to be precise by the time of Wednesday’s kick-off – the Club have gone from strength to strength in the competition."


Last meeting... ⚽

The two sides played out a 0-0 draw when we met at Old Trafford in the Premier League last month.

In a game of few chances, City’s best fell to Riyad Mahrez, but his shot was well saved by David De Gea, whilst at the other end, United saw a penalty decision overturned by VAR when Marcus Rashford was shown to be offside before he was fouled by Kyle Walker.


Pep Guardiola 💬

Pep Guardiola says if City weren’t determined to win a fourth successive Carabao Cup, it would have been clear from the start of this season's competition.

City have seen off Bournemouth, Burnley, and Arsenal on the way to Wednesday’s semi-final against Manchester United.

And having won the cup in 2018, 2019 and 2020, the City boss says his players are focused on reaching Wembley again – though he accepts taking on United at their home is a difficult hurdle.

“The team has won it three times in a row and we are in the semi-final for the fourth time in a row, so it means a lot,” said Pep.

“If it were not important then we would drop it before. It is the semi-final, we cannot expect a more difficult rival than we are going to face, but we have the desire to play well and get to another final.”


Long live the King 💙

Of course, this morning is deeply tinged with sadness, following last night's news that Colin Bell - the greatest City player of his generation - passed away, aged 74.

Colin made 492 appearances for City during a 13-year stay with the Club and scored 152 goals.

He was also capped 48 times by England – and his appearances for both club and country would have been far higher but for a devastating knee injury he suffered in 1975.

Few would argue that alongside today’s modern-day legends, Bell is regarded as one of - if not the - greatest players Manchester City has ever had - and with good reason.

City won the league title for the first time in 31 years with Bell inspirational throughout the campaign. He was here, there and literally everywhere and the fans loved his incredible athleticism and seemingly limitless stamina and in a team of winners, he was an easy choice for the 1967/68 Manchester City Player of the Year.

He was the beating heart of the team and along with Lee and Mike Summerbee, formed the legendary ‘Holy Trinity’ of players who would inspire the club to as yet uncharted heights.

Bell also won his first England cap in 1968 – the first of 48, which for several decades, was a club record.

A true Manchester City legend in every sense of the word.

Tonight, the players will walk out in retro shirts bearing his iconic number 8 in tribute.


It's Derby Day! 🔵🔴

Here we go again! What a game we have in store tonight...

City face Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, with a place in the Final (where Tottenham Hotspur await) up for grabs.

It's a 19:45 (UK time) kick-off at Old Trafford and don't forget: it's a one-legged affair this year!

As always, we'll have all of the build-up, live coverage and post-match reaction right here in the Matchday Centre and on

Until then, let us know how you're feeling ahead of the game, using the hashtag #WNRH on Twitter.

Come on, City!!!