Moments after the delayed match at the Britannia Stadium saw Manchester United complete the competition’s last four, the League Cup’s semifinal draw kept the Red Devils separated from their Manchester rivals, City having made the penultimate round after defeating Leicester on Tuesday. Instead, the Premier League’s holders will face Sunderland in one of the competition’s two-leg semis, while Manuel Pellegrini’s quest for his first piece of English silverware continues against West Ham.
Sunderland advanced to the semifinals on Tuesday after their 2-1, extra time win over Chelsea, with Ki Sung-Yeung’s 118th minute goal vaulting the Black Cats past the Premier League’s second place club. On Wednesday, West Ham joined Sunderland as competition cinderellas, coming back for a 2-1 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Continuing those upset ways will prove more difficult for Sunderland and West Ham in the next round, and not merely because the competition may prove greater. As opposed to the FA Cup, the League Cup features home-and-away semifinals before its cup-decider at Wembley. The first legs will be played at the Stadium of Light and Etihad Stadium during the week of Jan. 6, while the return legs will begin two weeks later.
Whereas the draw could have pitted the tournament’s two remaining favorites against each other in the semis — a matchup we saw in 2010 when Manchester United eliminated City en route to a second straight title — we’re instead left with two ‘magic of the Cup’ draws. If, however, that magic dies out, the Manchester Derby will move east to Wembley on March 2, with one of England’s highest profile rivalries to be waged with silverware on the line.
First, however, the semis:
League Cup Semifinals
Leg One: Week of January 6
Sunderland vs. Manchester United
Manchester City vs. West Ham United
Leg Two: Week of January 20
Manchester United vs. Sunderland
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
This Week’s Results
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.