Manchester United’s Carabao Cup campaign continues on Tuesday as they welcome third-tier Charlton Athletic to Old Trafford in what should be a routine quarter-final tie.
The Red Devils have been nothing short of impressive since the resumption of club football in December, winning all five domestic fixtures by an aggregate score of 12-1.
Man Utd also excelled in their opening Carabao Cup outing, as goals from Christian Eriksen and Rashford fired them to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Championship pacesetters Burnley in the last round.
However, visiting Charlton stole the spotlight in the previous Carabao Cup stage as they held Premier League high-flyers Brighton & Hove Albion scoreless before dumping them out on penalties to set up this tie.
Dean Holden’s men have since blown hot and cold across three League One matches (W1, D1, L1) but will take the field on the back of a 3-1 thumping of Portsmouth last time out.
On the cusp of making history, the Addicks could advance into the Carabao Cup semi-finals for the first time, although it will require a tremendous effort from the visitors at the Theatre of Dreams.
After consolidating their position in the Premier League top-four race, United can use the cup assignment as a welcoming distraction to rest some overused first-team stars.
But don’t expect the Red Devils to drop their hopes of lifting the Carabao Cup trophy for the first time since 2016/17, especially considering they’ve been victorious in four of their last five quarter-final match-ups.
United thrashed Charlton 5-1 in their only previous Carabao Cup encounter, while they’ve won their last ten H2Hs in all competitions, accounting for their longest winning run against a specific opponent.
Though this will be Charlton’s first competitive clash against United, they’ll be chained by a mental barrier, knowing they’ve only won one of their last 25 away matches against the Red Devils (D3, L21).
Any hope of upsetting the odds at Old Trafford will rest upon the Addicks’ ability to fend off United’s formidable frontline, given that they’ve netted only three goals in their four Carabao Cup outings this season.
Charlton’s recent away form cannot inspire much confidence either, with Holden’s side losing four straight games on the road before the abovementioned battering of Portsmouth.
Manchester United vs Charlton Athletic Potential Line-ups
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Martin Dubravka; Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Casemiro; Anthony Elanga, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes; Anthony Martial.
Charlton Athletic (4-3-3): Ashley Maynard-Brewer; Steven Sessegnon, Lucas Ness, Ryan Inniss, Sean Clare; George Dobson, Albie Morgan, Scott Fraser; Corey Blackett-Taylor, Jayden Stockley, Jesuran Rak-Sakyi.
Manchester United vs Charlton Athletic Prediction
With all due respect to Charlton’s admirable defensive exploits against Brighton in the last Carabao Cup round, they’ll need something extraordinary to hold Man Utd at bay.
Ten Hag’s lads have netted precisely three goals in three of their last four competitive matches, so backing them to put third-tier opposition to the sword is no-nonsense thinking.
Manchester United 3-0 Charlton Athletic
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