Things to know ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-finals
Manchester United lock horns with Nottingham Forest at The City Ground on Wednesday, in the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final.
Erik ten Hag’s side are looking to get back to winning ways, following Sunday’s narrow 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, and there are several details that you may want to be aware of ahead of the clash with Forest.
From VAR and extra-time, to United’s history at The City Ground, here's the key information...
WHAT’S NEW IN THE SEMI-FINALS?
VAR will be in operation from the semi-final stage of this season's Carabao Cup, having not been used in previous rounds.
This rule has been in place since the 2019/20 season due to VAR only being installed at Premier League stadiums, providing consistency across all fixtures in the earlier rounds of the competition.
The system will be in place for both legs of our semi-final and will be in use during the final too.
Like VAR, extra-time was omitted from Carabao Cup fixtures for the previous rounds and will be reinstated from the last-four stage onwards.
Previously, if teams were locked level at the end of normal time, they would go straight to penalties, but if that is the case on aggregate at the end of the semi-finals second legs, or after 90 minutes in the final, an extra half hour will be played to determine a winner. A shootout will then occur if the sides still can't be separated.
DO AWAY GOALS COUNT?
If the teams are level after both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final, an away-goal tiebreaker will not be used. The rule - well known for historically being in play in the knockout stages of European competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League - has the premise that whichever side scores more goals away from home goes through if things are all square after 180 minutes.
It means that if United and Forest are drawing on aggregate after both legs, extra time, and potentially penalties, will be necessary.
CARABAO CUP TRAVELS
Our trip to The City Ground will be our first away from Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup this season.
United have played three matches in the competition, defeating each of Aston Villa, Burnley and Charlton Athletic at the Theatre of Dreams.
Of course, with this tie occurring across two legs, Ten Hag’s side will have the opportunity to play Steve Cooper’s team at home too.
OUR LAST VISIT TO FOREST
1999 was the last time United played away at The City Ground, and what a match that was.
The Reds famously dispatched the home side 8-1, with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole getting a brace each and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring four, as we continued our push towards our eventual Treble.
WHO'S IN THE OTHER SEMI?
Southampton v Newcastle is the other tie to keep an eye on, with the Saints and the Magpies going toe-to-toe. The first leg takes place at St Mary's Stadium on Tuesday before the return fixture in the North East in seven days' time.
Nathan Jones’s Saints have recently experienced an upturn in form, which includes eliminating Manchester City in the quarter-finals, while Newcastle have continued their revitalisation under Eddie Howe and find themselves locked on points with United in the Premier League table, only edging the Reds on goal difference.