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EFL Cup Final preview – United to edge to Wembley glory

EFL Cup Final preview – United to edge to Wembley glory

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Manchester United should have too much firepower for Southampton but Jose Mourinho’s side may need extra time before sealing victory in the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

United have only lost one of their last 25 matches in all competitions and can be backed at 20/27 to beat Southampton and win the League Cup for the fifth time in their history and first time since 2009/10.

Southampton’s last major trophy was their FA Cup triumph in 1976, when they upset the odds to beat United 1-0, and a repeat of that scoreline on Sunday is available at 19/4.

Claude Puel’s side have been inconsistent in the Premier League but they have shone in the EFL Cup and have had to beat four top-flight sides – Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal and Liverpool – to reach Wembley.

They will be more rested than United as they have not played since thrashing Sunderland 4-0 at the Stadium of Light on February 11 while Mourinho’s team have been involved in three cup matches in that time.

In August at Old Trafford Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his home debut as United easily beat Southampton 2-0 and the veteran Swedish striker is 3/1 to score the first goal at Wembley while Southampton’s recent signing Manolo Gabbiadini can be backed at 3/1 to score at any time.

Southampton’s defence this season has been superb but they will be without the injured Virgil van Dijk on Sunday while Jose Fonte was sold to West Ham United last month.

In addition, Charlie Austin (shoulder), Alex McCarthy (hamstring), Matt Targett (hamstring), Joel Pied (knee) and Jake Hesketh (ankle) will all miss the final, while Morocco international Sofiane Boufal is a doubt with an ankle problem.

Mourinho looks set to be without Phil Jones (foot) and said after the Europa League win against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday that he did not think Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Michael Carrick would be fit enough to feature at Wembley.

Mkhitaryan limped off with a hamstring injury in France while Carrick is struggling with a calf problem.

A tight final is in prospect so odds of 39/20 on there being under 1.5 goals in the match should be taken up.

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Mark Race Having worked in the media for nearly 30 years, Mark knows his sport inside out and at all levels. An avid football fan, Mark also has serious knowledge of the tennis world and is quick to point out value bets in a number of other sports.