Weblog: The football punter

Martial may be the man to send United through

EFL Cup third round Sky Sports Football, 8pm 

Frank Lampard learned plenty as a player under Jose Mourinho but the novice Derby manager could be on the end of a harsh lesson against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup third round.

Mourinho has said he is "not thinking too much" about squad rotation, although even if he does make changes there is a big enough pool of players to select from to secure a smooth passage through to the next round before the need for penalties, which will be the method to determine the winner should the tie finish level after 90 minutes.

One of those set to come in - Anthony Martial - could be the first-goalscorer punt, particularly with Marcus Rashford still serving a suspension and Romelu Lukaku probably not risked from the start against the Sky Bet Championship side. 

Martial has cut an unhappy figure during most of Mourinho's reign in Manchester and the speedster dropped out of favour to such an extent he missed out on France's World Cup win in the summer.

The former Monaco man was hooked after 60 minutes of his first start this season, a 3-2 defeat at Brighton, but he was back in the starting 11 against Young Boys last week and responded with a Champions League goal.

Derby have just enjoyed their best week under Lampard.

The Rams beat Brentford 3-1 on Saturday, limiting a dangerous Bees outfit to just two shots on target, and they were all over Blackburn in last week's 0-0 draw with 22 shots compared to Rovers' six.

Lampard wants the team to play from the back and be expressive on the ball, giving freedom to playmaker Mason Mount, and after a tricky start the Rams seem to be heading in the right direction.

However, even a makeshift United side is a significant step up in quality.

A Martial first goalscorer

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Match in Focus


England v Croatia

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • England have won four of their last five home matches
Expert verdict
This World Cup semi-final rematch is about much more than revenge for England with both teams knowing a Wembley win will take them through to next summer's Nations League knockout phase. England look to have stepped up a gear since last summer's World Cup loss to Croatia, beating Spain in Seville, and can continue their upward trajectory.