The first major silverware of the season is ready to be obtained on Sunday afternoon. Wembley will host Manchester United vs Newcastle United, the EFL (or Carabao Cup) final and all the hopes of both teams to end the trophy drought. We should not compare their success though, as Manchester United has claimed 40 major trophies since Newcastle’s last major domestic silverware, the FA Cup in 1955.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United
Date: Sunday, 26 February 2023
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Manchester United continues its magnificent 2023 run, keeping the quadruple hopes alive. The Red Devils are just five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League standings (having played one more game), they continue to compete in the FA Cup (the next opponent is West Ham) and managed to eliminate Barcelona in Europa League playoffs. The Brazilian cavalry was more than enough at Old Trafford, as Fred and Anthony led to a comeback win against Blaugrana after the team saw Lewandowski score from the penalty spot. Manchester United is currently on a nine-game streak without facing a loss, scoring twice in each of its last ten matches.
Eliminating Aston Villa, Burnley, Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest was more than enough to make it to their first domestic cup final since the 2017-18 FA Cup. This will be the team’s 10th EFL Cup final appearance, while five of their previous nine have ended with them lifting the trophy. Erik Ten Hag aims to be the first Dutch coach to win this honourable trophy.
Christian Eriksen, Donny Van de Beek and Anthony Martial are the guaranteed absentees, as the latter will not be back from his hip problem. We may see Anthony as a member of the starting-11 instead of Weghorst, who seems unable to be effective in United’s way of playing. Sancho is rejuvenated, so he may slide near Marcus Rashford.
Newcastle United’s combination of excessive new players and the coaching abilities of Eddie Howe (who was appointed last year) lead the team from the relegation zone in 2021/2022 to fighting for a spot in next season’s Champions League. The Magpies won Tranmere Rovers, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Southampton to reach their first major final since 1998-1999.
On the negative side of the analysis, Newcastle United have failed to win its last four division matches, with the last being a home-turf loss to Liverpool. They are currently on an eight-game winless streak at Wembley, as the last successful result was the FA Cup in 1955.
Nick Pope’s direct suspension against Liverpool was very crucial, as the English goalkeeper is forced to miss the final. He kept ten clean sheets in the last 14 games, but he left his team with not-so many choices. Martin Drubravka can’t participate, as he has already played in the competition, while he was loaned at Manchester United early in the season. That leaves Loris Karius as the only countable option, despite hasn’t made a senior appearance since February 2021. He also hasn’t played for an English club since the cursed 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv. Bruno Guimaraes is available again, leaving Joelinton and Joe Willock as the only men in doubt.
Manchester United to Win @2.09
John Sampson is a sports writer and tipster who is passionate about football. He studied Political Sciences but his true love has always been sports, specifically football.
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