Manchester United vs. Southampton: EFL Cup 2017 Final News, Live Stream, TV Info

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2017

Manchester United's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) vies with Southampton's Northern Irish midfielder Steven Davis and Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 19, 2016. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United will be favourites when they take on Southampton in Sunday's 2017 EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

However, a United squad stretched by injuries and a hectic schedule should be wary of a Southampton side that's already eliminated big clubs in this tournament.

The Saints knocked out Premier League sides Arsenal and Liverpool en route to the final. Yet Southampton manager Claude Puel has injury concerns of his own to deal with before Wembley.

Before a preview and look at the team news, here are the schedule and viewing details:

 

Date: Sunday, February 26

Time: 4:30 p.m. GMT/11:30 a.m. ET.

TV Info: Sky Sports 1/beIN Sports.

Live Stream: Sky GofuboTV.

 

Preview

Injuries are starting to mount for a United squad still active across four competitions. Among those injuries, Michael Carrick and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were withdrawn from the club's 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, according to Joe Mewis of the Daily Mirror.

Mkhitaryan will be a big miss for United.
Mkhitaryan will be a big miss for United.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Mourinho didn't definitively rule the pair out of the final, but he did indicate replacements are ready to play if needed, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News"Obviously, they are important players for us and not to have them for the final is complicated. But I think Marouane and Bastian, who have not played so much, did a good answer. When one is not playing it is an opportunity for another."

Turning to Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger would give United an experience advantage in the final. However, the Red Devils would be sure to miss Mkhitaryan's flair and Carrick's quality on the ball.

Even with the injuries, United centre-back Chris Smalling believes he and his team-mates will still have the savvy to handle the pressure of a final better than the Saints, according to Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph.

The Reds' chances of dealing with the intensity at Wembley will be boosted by Southampton's own injury absentees. They include "Charlie Austin, Virgil van Dijk, Alex McCarthy and Matt Targett," per Mewis. He also noted how mercurial winger "Sofiane Boufal is a doubt."

Boufal could miss out.
Boufal could miss out.Michael Steele/Getty Images

Puel would likely love to have Boufal's game-changing qualities available at Wembley. Yet the former Lille star isn't the only ace the Saints have.

Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini is a player with the craft and eye for goal to cause United more than a few problems. Writing for Sky Sports, Adam Bate described how Gabbiadini's versatility is just what Puel has wanted to lead the line: "He is the box threat that Claude Puel was after and, crucially, the sort of hybrid forward who can marry the key qualities of both Austin and Shane Long. Gabbiadini can link the play and provide a threat in behind."

Gabbiadini's presence means the Saints will have the menace up front to stress United between the lines. Yet it's Southampton's solidity in defensive areas that may prove decisive against a Red Devils side clicking in front of goal recently.

Gabbiadini could be a difference-maker for the Saints.
Gabbiadini could be a difference-maker for the Saints.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Metro's Simon Rice detailed how stingy Southampton have been during this tournament: "Southampton have not conceded a single goal so far in the tournament – 450 minutes that has seen them travel to Arsenal and Liverpool and keep a clean sheet. Against a side noted for its wastefulness in front of goal, it bodes well."

On the surface, an in-form United against a Southampton side mired in mid-table in the Premier League should be a foregone conclusion. However, there's enough about the Saints' own capability to believe this will be a fiercely contested final.