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Rampant Red Devils will look to kill tie in first leg

United can cruise past Hull at Old Trafford

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a huge goal threat for Manchester United
1 of 1

EFL Cup semi-final first leg
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Tuesday

Manchester United romped to a home win in the FA Cup on Saturday and they can do likewise in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Hull at Old Trafford.

Something close to repeating the 4-0 win over Reading will be a realistic target for a United side in rampant form and looking to effectively seal the League Cup tie before the return leg at Hull on January 26.

That Thursday fixture is not ideal as it comes just before the FA Cup fourth-round weekend and with Jose Mourinho's men eyeing a Wembley double this is a great opportunity to kill the semi-final inside 90 minutes.

Bookmakers, understandably, cannot see past a routine home win and United are predictably long odds-on to beat the Premier League's bottom club and the minus-two Asian handicap line may be a better way of supporting the overwhelming favourites.

United have had little trouble cutting loose at Old Trafford since successive draws with Burnley and Arsenal in November.

Positive results had been coming - United won the shots-on-target battle 16-2 in those frustrating draws and their performances deserved more.

It was 8-2 in shots on target in the 1-1 draw with West Ham as another dominant display went unrewarded but three days later they put four on the Hammers in the EFL Cup quarter-final.

The Red Devils have also beaten Feyenoord and Reading 4-0 at Old Trafford and their successes against Sunderland and Middlesbrough just after Christmas were better than winning margins of 3-1 and 2-1 suggest.

United smashed in 24 shots (not including blocked efforts) against Boro and Fabio Borini grabbed a last-gasp consolation for Sunderland when concentration levels dipped, something unlikely to happen in this match as it is a two-legged tie.

Mourinho's side have managed at least nine shots on target in seven of their last nine home games - the exceptions were against Arsenal and Tottenham - and Hull seem certain to struggle to contain the outstanding talents of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

The star duo were rested against Reading which could be bad news for a Tigers team beaten 5-1 at Liverpool, 6-1 at Bournemouth and 3-0 at Tottenham, while Arsenal won 4-1 at Hull and Manchester City triumphed 3-0.

Chelsea won 2-0 at Hull and United battered them 1-0 before Marcus Rashford finally notched late on with their last of 21 shots.

That was all under the leadership of Mike Phelan and new boss Marco Silva got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 FA Cup success over Swansea.

However, in many reports Tigers keeper Eldin Jakupovic was credited with a man-of-the-match performance.

Silva has major defensive concerns after finishing the Swansea tie with midfielders Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and David Meyler in a makeshift back four and the former Estoril and Olympiakos man will do well to keep the Tigers in the tie. 

Recommendation
Man Utd -2 Asian handicap
1pt 19-20 bet365
Bet wins if Manchester United win by three or more goals; stake returned if they win by exactly two goals; bet loses if they win by one goal or fail to win

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Man Utd
Eric Bailly is at the Africa Cup of Nations and Marcos Rojo is injured.

Hull
Michael Dawson and Abel Hernandez will need late checks, while there is also a concern over Harry Maguire. Dawson is a major doubt, while Curtis Davies, Moses Odubajo, Alex Bruce and Will Keane are injured. Ahmed Elmohamady is at the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Key stat
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in ten of his last 12 appearances and notched 12 times in total during this hot spell

United have had little trouble cutting loose at home since the successive draws with Burnley and Arsenal in November.
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