WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) previews the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final between Hull and Manchester United. The visitors have a comfy cushion and the Tigers squad are licking their wounds but could they be underestimated, just as Southampton were at Anfield?
Hull v Manchester United | Wednesday 19:45 | Sky Sports 1
Manchester United have one foot in the EFL Cup final after a 2-0 win in the first leg. Marouane Fellaini’s 87th minute header was greatly appreciated around Old Trafford two weeks ago; at just 1-0 the tie would still have been in the balance.
Now with a two-goal cushion the Red Devils have space to breathe.
Hull are of course not a threatening side on paper but we’ve already seen the underdogs come through in the other semi-final.
It’s not necessarily something I would read too much into but the fact that United now know that they won’t face their arch rivals Liverpool at Wembley next month could be interpreted to have a negative effect on their efforts in this game. Had that mouthwatering final against the Scousers awaited, failure to join them would have been criminal.
Fortunately, for United, an extremely undermanned Tigers team lie in wait at the KCOM Stadium.
The hosts are without Ryan Mason after he fractured his skull against Chelsea last weekend, they’ve lost Jake Livermore to West Brom and Robert Snodgrass has had bids accepted from West Ham and Burnley making him unlikely to appear.
In addition, Ahmed Elmohamady and Dieumerci M’bokani have both progressed to the quarter finals with their respective nations at AFCON so won’t be returning anytime soon.
It means that Marco Silva will have to look to players inexperienced with the English game; the likes of Evandro Goebel, Omar Elabdellaoui and Oumar Niasse.
The above are all players that have made less than a handful of appearances for the Tigers, far from ideal when you’re 90 minutes away from a Wembley cup final for only the second time in your history.
United should be in the driving seat but a game based on possession and not a lot else could easily be in store.
Interestingly, Hull have lost just one of their last eight home games in all competitions; the 3-0 loss to Manchester City on Boxing Day and even that was a game in which they were still level after 70 minutes. They are no pushovers at home.
In five visits to Humberside since the Tigers first Premier League arrival in 2009, the Red Devils have only won by more than one goal once. The last three visits have resulted in two narrow victories and a draw. Most recently, a 1-0 win in August last year but that took a memorable 92nd minute winner from Marcus Rashford.
Considering Jose Mourinho’s men don’t need to win this game and could even lose by one goal and still go through, I don’t see any value in the 1/2 on an away victory. In fact, I’m going to take them on.
Hull +1.0 on the Asian Handicap is 7/6 with 888 – if the hosts win or draw we get paid out, if they lose by one goal we get our money back.
The nature of a two-legged tie often lends itself kindly to betting. Southampton’s game plan last night went exactly to plan and was very easy to predict. Let’s hope this game is just as predictable.
Hull v Manchester United – Hull +1.0 Asian Handicap (7/6 888)