United are in an easy test against Reading tomorrow, two days after setting foot in the League Cup final
Manchester City and its guest Arsenal put aside their fierce competition for the English Premier League title in football, and focus on a flaming summit between them today in the fourth round of the Federation Cup competition. At the “Al-Ittihad” stadium in Manchester, Arsenal, who leads the league well deservedly, and with wonderful performances, the last of which was its 3-2 victory over United, returning the difference with City, second in the standings, to five points, and the team also had a postponed match.
Today’s confrontation will be the first between the two teams this season, after their match, which was scheduled for the first leg of the league on October 19, in the twelfth stage, was postponed to February 15, and therefore the winner will have tremendous moral momentum before their first confrontation in the league. At the Emirates Stadium, and the second on April 26, next, at Al-Ittihad Stadium, within the thirty-third stage.
Rashford continues his brilliance with United (Reuters)
The two teams enter the match high with two important victories, Arsenal at the expense of Tottenham (2-0) and Manchester United, and City also beat Tottenham (4-2) and Wolverhampton (3-0).
However, City knocked out Chelsea from the third round with a big win by four, and will seek to add the second pole of the capital to its list of victims, armed with the striking offensive arsenal led by Norwegian international Erling Haaland, who has 25 goals in the league this season, the last of which was a hat-trick against Wolverhampton that was his fourth since He moved to City last summer.
However, the task will not be easy for Arsenal, whose offensive weapons are not much different from City, in light of the brilliance of Bukayo Saka, the Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nikitia and the Norwegian Martin Odegaard.
Liverpool, the defending champion, will play a revenge confrontation on Sunday against its host, Brighton, who defeated it 3-0 when it hosted it at the Amex stadium on January 14, in the twentieth stage of the league.
And his German coach, Jurgen Klopp, commented on the loss at the time, saying: “I cannot remember a worse match than the one the team played in which I suffered an unfortunate defeat against Brighton.”
Liverpool, who misses many of the mainstays due to injury, suffered two things against Brighton this season, as the latter forced them to a 3-3 draw in the ninth stage of the league last October.
Liverpool returns to Brighton and is ninth in the Premier League, ten points behind the top four, in a frightening decline compared to previous seasons, the last of which was last season when it was just around the corner from achieving a historic quadruple.
And his Spanish international midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, admitted that Liverpool is still mentally tired because of what happened last season, and he said: “It is not just about physical matters, it is a psychological thing because we were very close to winning everything and we touched that, but unfortunately we failed to achieve it.” A reference to winning the domestic Confederation Cup and League Cup titles, losing the league title race in the last stage in favor of City, and the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
International striker Harry Kane has a golden opportunity to become the historic scorer for Tottenham when he visits Preston from the First Division (actually second) tomorrow, Saturday.
Kane equaled the record set by Jimmy Greaves (steadfast since 1970) when he scored his 266 goal in various competitions against Fulham (1-0) on Monday at the end of the twenty-first stage of the league, and the current captain of the England national team is about to own the record. .
With fifth-fifth Spurs battling for the top four in the league, Italian coach Antonio Conte may rest his stars against Preston, but given Spurs’ shock defeat by Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round last season, Kane is keen to play.
“The FA Cup is important to us,” said Keane, still looking to win his first major trophy. It was disappointing to lose to Middlesbrough. We’ll see what the coach says, but I’ll be ready.”
Manchester United, who put forward in the final match of the League Cup by defeating Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the first leg of the semi-finals, is going through a relatively easy test at home against Reading from the first division tomorrow, Saturday.
United aspires to reach the League Cup final for the tenth time in its history and the first since 2017 when it was crowned under the leadership of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, and it was the last year in which it was crowned with any title.
If he qualifies, he will meet in the final with Newcastle or Southampton, noting that the first put forward in the summit match by winning 1-0 outside his stronghold in the first leg on Tuesday.
United, thanks to the in-form Marcus Rashford, quickly shook off the Premier League defeat to Arsenal, with his international striker opening the scoring against Forest with a brilliant solo effort after six minutes from the start, when he burst from the middle of the field, playing with defenders before finding the net, becoming the first player to score five goals in a season. One in the League Cup for United since Argentine Carlos Tevez (6 in the 2008-2009 season), raising his score to 18 goals in all competitions this season. And only the Norwegian Erling Haaland, Manchester City striker, scored more than him with an English club in the 2022-2023 season.
Forest believed that he quickly equalized at home, “City Ground”, but Sam Sturridge’s goal from a counter-attack was ruled out for offside after reviewing the video referee system.
And United succeeded in strengthening their lead before the break when the newcomer on loan, Dutch loanee Vout Figurst, scored his first goal in his second participation since joining, following a rebound from Brazilian Anthony’s shot from the goalkeeper. The goal ended Forest’s chance of redemption, while Portuguese Bruno Fernandes added a late third goal to ensure United continued chasing their first title since 2017.
The second leg will be held at Old Trafford next Wednesday. “I am happy with the performance. We controlled the game over the course of the 90 minutes. There is one moment in which the match could have changed. We must be careful about that and evolve,” said Dutch coach Eric Ten Hag.
He added, “In this atmosphere and in this spirit, Rashford cannot be stopped. He can be creative in the last third and do crazy, creative and brave things.” United fans chanted “Wembley” at halftime, clinging to the dream of playing the final in the famous stadium next month. On the other hand, Forest coach Steve Cooper said: “A disappointing result for sure. The last thing you want is to go to Old Trafford while you are three behind … Rashford is one of the most brilliant players in the country, of course, but allowing what he did is not good.”