Manchester United will be without Antonio Valencia for Wednesday’s League Cup match with Middlesbrough. Valencia limped off during the weekend’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford with a foot injury and is unavailable for selection.
Manager, Louis Van Gaal, is likely to rest several of his first team players when Manchester United welcome Aitor Karanka’s side to Old Trafford.
The visitors currently sit in fourth place in the Championship following a run of seven wins, three draws and three defeats in the League. Since winning every game in September, the team have faltered slightly. Their only win since was against Wolves on Saturday. However, Karanka’s side look in good nick overall this season despite some inconsistency.
Louis Van Gaal has made the Premier League his main priority this season but will be desperate to do well in this competition too. Especially after the embarrassing showing in last season’s competition which saw lose 4-0 at MK Dons. If Van Gaal can make this his first piece of silverware of his Manchester United career, he will feel he can kick on and win more.
Manchester United cruised to victory against Ipswich in round three to secure their place in the fourth round. They will hope to do the same against similar strength opposition. Middlesbrough have recent form as giant killers. Last season they beat Manchester City away in the FA Cup and Van Gaal will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice in Manchester.
Matteo Damian is likely to return for the hosts following the injury to Valencia.
Sergio Romero, Paddy McNair, James Wilson, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Marouane Fellaini could all start.
For Middlesbrough, Adam Forshaw, Albert Adomah, Stewart Downing and Christian Stuani are injury doubts and might not be fit enough for the Old Trafford clash. Stuani is the joint leading scorer in this season’s competition with four goals.
Downing played through his knock in the victory at Wolves and Karanka may feel he is suitably fit for the game. New loan signing Bruno Zuculini could make his debut. The midfielder is on loan from Manchester City.
Despite fielding a potentially weaker starting eleven, Manchester United are the big favourites for this match. They should manage to brush aside a Middlesbrough side who will be up for the occasion but are underdogs in this one.
Prediction Manchester United 2-0 Middlesbrough
Mejias, Kalas, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Leadbitter, Stephens, Nsue, Downing, De Pena, Kike