By Chris Wheeler for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:05 GMT, 7 January 2020 | Updated: 22:33 GMT, 7 January 2020
At this stage of last season’s Carabao Cup, Manchester City stuck nine goals past Burton Albion and there must have been times last night when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feared a similar horror unfolding at Old Trafford.
City were that good. Manchester United were that bad. It’s hard to believe that only last month they were celebrating a victory at the Etihad, so brutally were the tables turned on them here.
They might have known City wouldn’t take that one lying down. Marcus Rashford, captain in the absence of Harry Maguire, acknowledged as much before a ball had been kicked in this semi-final.
Manchester City ran riot and scored three times in the first-half at Old Trafford on Tuesday
‘To be honest, I don’t expect it to be the same type of game as it was there,’ said Rashford. ‘I expect them to change something. Maybe not personnel but formation. So we’ll see what they put in front of us and we have to find a way to beat them.’
Trouble was, United simply had no answer to what Pep Guardiola had in store for them.
Guardiola likes to rotate Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, occasionally playing them up front together. But only once before this season — in the quarter-final of this competition away to League One Oxford United last month —has he started without either of his two main strikers.
It paid off then but the Kassam Stadium isn’t Old Trafford. Last night, Guardiola took what appeared to be arguably his biggest gamble of the season by leaving both Aguero and Jesus on the bench.
Kevin de Bruyne (above), Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez were able to tear United apart
Within 38 minutes of the most one-sided of Manchester derbies it was looking like a masterstroke with striker-less City 3-0 up and unfortunate not to at least double that score before half time.
By allowing his more creative players — Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and, in