Manchester City v Manchester United: Shoot for profit
Manchester City should win another derby in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday but Andy Schooler is gunning for profit with two bets in the shots market...
Manchester City v Manchester United Wednesday 29 January, 19:45 Live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Sometimes you just have to hold you hands up and admit you got something badly wrong.
That was the case with my preview of the first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final.
Having highlighted the fact that United went into that game leading 5-4 in wins across the previous 11 Manchester derbies, not to mention their strong record against the Premier League's best sides, the Red Devils were blown away in the first half an hour.
United's uphill task
United did get a goal back in the second half but they still face a mountain to climb, heading to the Etihad trailing 3-1.
To give Reds some hope, it should be remembered they trailed PSG by two goals after the first leg of their Champions League clash last season and still progressed but there is no away-goals rule in force here - this tie will go straight to penalties if United do win by a two-goal margin in 90 minutes.
Further positives can be drawn from the fact United won here 2-1 only last month, producing a superb display of counter-attacking football. They could easily have scored more.
However, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, both stars on that day, miss out this time around.
At least Anthony Martial, another to impress during the league win, is set to start. He missed the first leg when teenager Mason Greenwood started and made little impression.
City learn lessons
Still, it hard to get away from how easily City took control of the first leg with Pep Guardiola having clearly learned the lessons of City's Etihad defeat.
Expect them to sit deeper in this game and not allow United the space in behind which they got by the bucketload last month.
Aymeric Laporte could play having returned from his long-term injury last midweek at Sheffield United. He has been sorely missed, never more so than in that league encounter.
Riyad Mahrez, excellent in the first leg, and Joao Cancelo are both doubts after picking up knocks in Sunday's 4-0 demolition of Fulham.
Several players got a rest that day, including Sergio Aguero, who has been in red-hot form of late, scoring eight goals in his last five appearances.
Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's now-famous comment about how his side had been treated with great respect with City fielding their best team, Aguero did not feature in the first leg, yet still the Blues cut through the United defence with ease.
He'll relish the chance to add to his tally here.
Hosts hot favourites
City are 1.35to win the game and anyone who saw the first leg will realise why they are such a price.
However, those ready to back it should remember this is not a match they actually need to win. And were United to score first, surely City would begin to focus on the need to keep goals out.
United are at 9.80 for the victory they need to stand any chance of reaching Wembley. They've won here twice in their last three visits but the most-recent evidence doesn't do a great deal for their chances of the upset. The draw is a 6.20 chance.
Given City's commitment to attacking football and United's need to come out and get a goal (and more) back, goals look to be on the cards.
Expect goals - early
Over 2.5 goals, a bet landed in five of the last six derbies, is a 1.53 chance. It looks short at first glance but City's games usually deliver here.
However, instead of going big on goals in that market, turn instead to focus on City's first-half display. They flew out of the blocks at Old Trafford, going three up in no time, and they are 21/10to score over 1.5 goals in the first half of this game.
Nine of City's 18 home games in all competitions this season have seen them net over 1.5 times. They've landed the bet against Leicester, Chelsea and Spurs at the Etihad, while more recently they've scored at least twice before the break at Aston Villa, Arsenal and, of course, Old Trafford.
United can't sit back, so this looks a decent price.
It may also pay to delve into the player stats markets.
Aguero is even money to have two or more shots on target which looks worth an interest.
He had five on target against Villa recently and three against Crystal Palace.
The Argentine hot-shot also had one on target at Sheffield United last week in a game he only featured in as a substitute.
In the same market, try a punt on Diogo Dalot having at least one shot on target.
The United man impressed at Tranmere on Sunday, scoring once and having another shot on target from his wing-back position.
While Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to return to the starting XI for this one, it has been suggested Dalot will keep his place in a position even further forward.
The prices don't seem to reflect that view though and it's worth a nibble of the 11/2 on offer.
He had two shots on target at Prenton Park, scoring with one, and does like a dig from distance.
Only one of the previous 29 teams to win a League Cup semi-final first leg by two or more goals has then been eliminated, with Tranmere Rovers going out against Aston Villa in 1993-94 (3-1 first leg, 1-3 second leg, lost 5-4 on penalties).