Manchester United’s strong lineup against Manchester City highlights the impressive progress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made since the identical fixture almost a year ago.
Solskjaer has made two changes to his side this evening as United aim to reach their first final under his tutelage. Dean Henderson resumes his starting place in the Carabao Cup while Victor Lindelof replaces Eric Bailly in defence.
Tonight’s tie is unusually played over one-leg due to fixture congestion but the quality in Solskjaer’s squad is strikingly better than when United were knocked out at this stage by their cross-city rivals last season.
In fact, there are only three players in tonight’s starting XI that were in the side that lost the first leg of last year’s semi-final 3-1 to Pep Guardiola’s men.
Brandon Williams and Daniel James were relied upon on the biggest stage last season but are now more sporadic squad players.
The likes of Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard started last year but are now forlorn figures at the club who don’t see game time.
Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are talents almost incomparable to last season’s creative outlets in Lingard and on-loan Andreas Pereira.
There is also a marked difference in depth on the bench, as Solskjaer has the option to bring on potential match-winners in attacking positions such as Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek rather than the unproven Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong.
Solskjaer will be hoping his side can highlight their significant progress once again by going one step further in the competition with victory.
A visit to Wembley on April 25 awaits the winner tonight…
See the two contrasting teams below, via the club’s official twitter account:
🚨 𝐓𝐞𝐚𝐦 𝐧𝐞𝐰𝐬!
📋 Ole has made 2️⃣ changes to our starting XI for tonight's semi-final 👊
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 6, 2021
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 7, 2020