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Dan Childs's EFL Cup semi-final second-leg tips: United duo to set Wembley date

Four Premier League teams are one step away from the EFL Cup final and the Racing Post’s Dan Childs has his best bets for the semi-final, second-leg matches.

Newcastle take a 1-0 lead into their home match with Southampton on Tuesday, while Nottingham Forest head to Manchester United on Wednesday needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit.

Newcastle v Southampton (20:00, Tuesday)

Draw-Newcastle Half Time/Full Time @ 3/1

Half With Most Goals - 2nd Half @ 21/20

What:Newcastle v Southampton
Where:St James' Park, Newcastle
When:20:00, Tuesday 31st January 2023
How to watch:Sky Sports Main Event & Football
Odds:Newcastle 4/9, Draw 7/2, Southampton 15/2

Magpies on the brink of Wembley return

Newcastle have not got close to winning a major trophy since they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup final, but they approach the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton with high hopes after last Tuesday's 1-0 success on the south coast.

Joelinton's 73rd minute goal gave the Magpies a hard-fought success at St Mary's Stadium, meaning they only have to avoid defeat to set up their first League Cup final appearance since 1976.

Southampton missed some good chances in the opening game but they face a daunting task. No less than 13 visiting teams have tried and failed to win at St James' Park this season and Nathan Jones's side must try to succeed where they have failed.

Patient approach can payoff for the Magpies

Newcastle were made to work hard for their single goal success over Southampton last Tuesday and a similar scenario could develop in the second leg which promises to be another closely-contested affair.

Southampton would have wanted to take a lead or at least maintain parity before heading to Tyneside, but they have had time to regroup and their challenge should not be lightly dismissed.

Saints played the role of the underdog to perfection in the quarter-finals, winning 2-0 at home to Manchester City, and they have looked much more competitive and tactically astute since appointing Jones in November.

Jones will be urging his players to stay in the tie for as long as possible and the scene could be set for another tight first half with chances at a premium.

Southampton can mirror the first leg by getting to half-time at 0-0, but there will come a time when they need to take more risks and Newcastle have sufficient pace and quality to expose them on the counter-attack.

The home side should eventually make their extra class count and a wager on the Draw-Newcastle Half Time/Full Time appeals at 3/1.

Slow burner could catch fire after half-time

Most of the significant action occurred after half-time in last Tuesday's opening leg and there may be a repeat in the north east with both teams reluctant to take early risks.

Newcastle would love to make an early breakthrough but Southampton have looked well organised in recent weeks and have conceded just one first-half goal in their last five matches.

At some point Southampton will have to throw caution to the wind and that should lead to an increased goal threat at both ends.

There have been more second-half goals than first-half goals in all of Southampton's last four matches and there is value in backing the trend to continue at 21/20.

Manchester United v Nottingham Forest (20:00, Wednesday)

Marcus Rashford First Goalscorer @ 10/3

Both Teams to Score @ 19/20

What:Manchester United v Nottingham Forest
Where:Old Trafford, Manchester
When:20:00, Wednesday 1st February 2023
How to watch:Sky Sports Main Event & Football
Odds:Man Utd 2/5, Draw 15/4, Nottm Forest 7/1

Forest facing mission impossible

Nottingham Forest appear to be facing mission impossible in their semi-final against Manchester United after subsiding to a 3-0 defeat at the City Ground last Wednesday.

United stretched their sequence of home wins to 11 with Saturday's 3-1 victory at home to Reading in the FA Cup fourth round and they would have to suffer a heavy defeat to be denied a trip to Wembley.

The Red Devils have experienced two home reverses this season, losing out to Brighton (1-2) and Sociedad (0-1), but they appear to be in an impregnable position.

They have not lost a home game by more than two goals since October 2021 when suffering a 5-0 Premier League loss to Liverpool.

Ruthless Rashford can put tie beyond doubt

Marcus Rashford is the top scorer in this season's League Cup with five goals and he could add to that tally against a Forest side facing an almost impossible task.

Erik ten Hag has coaxed improved contributions out of several United players, but Rashford has responded as well as anyone to his methods and he set the ball rolling at the City Ground last Wednesday with a superb individual effort.

The 25-year-old has netted 10 goals in his last 11 appearances and should be fresh enough having been limited to 67 minutes of weekend action against Reading.

Rashford's last two goals, away to Arsenal and Forest, were deadlock breakers and he looks attractively priced at 10/3 to be First Goalscorer.

Fired up Forest can contribute to high-scoring outcome

Forest have little chance of overturning a three-goal deficit, but they will be looking to give their travelling fans something to shout about and are unlikely to settle for damage limitation.

Steve Cooper will want to take some positives into Sunday's Premier League match at Leeds and his team are likely to get on the front foot and should at least grab a consolation goal.

The Tricky Trees have scored in 10 of their last 12 matches and will have their moments against a United side, who might not be 100 percent focused from the first whistle to the last.

United may be denied a clean sheet but they can afford to play with freedom and confidence in attacking areas.

There is every chance of an entertaining game and Both Teams to Score looks an appealing wager at 19/20.

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