Sometimes the best thing that can happen after a team loses a match is to play another one shortly thereafter. Manchester United has that luxury on Wednesday night when Sunderland arrives at Old Trafford to face United in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final; the Black Cats hold a 2-1 advantage from their first leg victory at the Stadium of Light.
“We are giving everything at the minute but it’s just not going our way,” Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick said. “If we all stick together, I am sure it will turn soon. We want to play again as quickly as possible and Wednesday is another big game.”
Yes, of the major trophies a club could win over the course of a season, the League Cup is arguably low or last on the list of achievements behind the FA Cup, Europa League, Premier League and Champions League titles.
But what Wednesday night represents to Manchester United is a chance to advance to a cup final at Wembley Stadium. With the team low on confidence and belief, David Moyes and Manchester United need a Wembley final.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, Wednesday’s game between Manchester United vs Sunderland at 2:45pm ET is being shown exclusively on beIN SPORTS and DishWorld. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORTS, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website. Setup takes just minutes.
“It is an opportunity to get to a final. You can’t take that lightly and the fans have been unbelievable over the last month or so especially,” said Michael Carrick.
Should United progress past Sunderland on Wednesday, their likely opponent at Wembley will be Manchester City, barring a catastrophy in City’s return leg against West Ham United.
A Manchester derby will guarantee a sold out Wembley Stadium for the Capital One Cup final.
Regardless of the ‘importance’ of the League Cup, when both teams walk out on to the pitch in front of 90,000 fans, with half of the supporters in red and the others in sky blue, the event will take on enormous significance. The roar at the stadium on March 2nd will leave no doubt that this League Cup final is a ‘big’ game.
The talk around Manchester City is that they are lining up to do the ‘quadruple’. No club has won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup in one season. But City manager Manuel Pellegrini has not ruled out his club’s chance of doing it during his first season in charge.
“It’s difficult [to win all four] but we’ll try,” the 60-year-old Chilean said recently. “It’s important to have the mentality.”
And what better way to start their run towards the quadruple then by beating their city rival in the League Cup final and thus inflicting further pain on United and their supporters.
On the other hand, Manchester United would enter the League Cup final as underdogs for the first time in recent history.