Carabao Cup semi-final Bet Builder tips: Usual suspects can step up
- The first legs of both semi-final encounters take place this week
- James Ward-Prowse has scored five goals in eight appearances since the World Cup
Newcastle travel to Southampton on Tuesday evening, while Manchester United make the trip to Nottingham Forest.
Goals expected at St Mary's
Southampton vs Newcastle (Tuesday, 8pm)
Bet 1: James Ward-Prowse to score anytime
James Ward-Prowse has been leading by example since the international break and at times seems to be on a one-man rescue mission for Southampton.
The attacking midfielder was understandably disappointed to miss out on the England squad for the World Cup but seems to have used that setback as motivation to spur himself on to an even higher level.
Having scored only twice in 16 matches before the international break, Ward-Prowse has now scored five goals in eight appearances since the return of domestic football.
The Southampton academy product will be desperate to bring silverware to his club and could help fire Saints to Wembley with his lethal set-pieces.
Bet 2: Over two goals in the match for both teams combined
These two teams have provided plenty of entertainment in their recent meetings, with Newcastle winning 4-1, 2-1 and 3-2 in the last four encounters and the other game in that run ending 2-2 at St James' Park.
Saints have been on the wrong end of that sequence but will fancy their chances in the first leg of this semi-final clash after impressing in a 2-0 defeat of Manchester City 2-0 in the quarter-finals.
That match was one of three of the last four in which they have netted two goals.
Bet 3: Miguel Almiron to score anytime
Miguel Almiron is enduring a drought by this season's lofty standards but remains Newcastle's top scorer with nine goals and still offers plenty of attacking threat.
Eddie Howe's 4-3-3 gets Almiron into plenty of dangerous positions on the right of the attacking three and he has racked up shot counts of three, three, two and one in his last four outings – as well as having the ball nicked off his toe in a dangerous position at Crystal Palace last weekend.
And while the Paraguayan has failed to score in his last five starts, the ball will start dropping for him sooner rather than later and it could happen against a Southampton side who offer too much space in their defence.
No free pass to the final for United
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United (Wednesday, 8pm)
Bet 1: Nottingham Forest or Draw - Double Chance
Nottingham Forest have been hugely impressive since mid-October, losing only four of their last 16 matches to rise from bottom to 13th in the Premier League while forging a path into the final four of the Carabao Cup.
Admittedly, one of the defeats in that run was a 3-0 thumping at Old Trafford, but Steve Cooper will fancy his chances of gaining revenge back at the City Ground, where Forest are unbeaten in eight, including victories over Liverpool and Tottenham and a draw with Chelsea.
Manchester United arrive having had the stuffing knocked out of them last week, when a nine-match winning run was ended by a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace and was followed by a deserved 3-2 defeat at Arsenal.
Erik ten Hag's men might just be feeling a little sorry for themselves after seeing their league title hopes fade and a record of just two wins in their last six away games puts that largely home-based recent winning run into context.
Bet 2: Under three goals for both teams combined
After being overly ambitious on home soil in the early stages of the season and suffering for it, Forest's fortunes have turned on Cooper's decision to make them harder to beat.
Seven of Forest's last eight home games have provided two goals or fewer and each of those matches have provided a win or a draw, so Cooper will again look to keep things tight.
Ten Hag will have to rotate as United have two games a week for the next five weeks and any lack of cohesion from those changes are likely to affect their attacking potency – particularly if in-form Marcus Rashford is among those rested.
Bet 3: Brennan Johnson to score anytime
Brennan Johnson's terrific post-World Cup form was rewarded in his last home game, with the Welshman netting twice against Leicester, and he looks to be going from strength to strength.
His goal tally may not be hugely impressive but he is growing in importance to Forest's attacking play, providing a goal – or goals – or an assist in three of his last four starts, while engineering a hugely impressive five shots against Bournemouth at the weekend.
He is emerging as the key threat in this Forest side and he could hurt a United defence that has kept just one clean sheet in their last eight domestic away games.