The Carabao Cup final, which will take place at Wembley on Sunday, will feature Manchester United and Newcastle competing for the first trophy available this year.
In the semi-finals, Erik ten Hag’s group destroyed Nottingham Forest 5-0 over the course of two legs, while Eddie Howe’s group defeated Southampton 3-1 throughout two legs to go to their first domestic final since 1999. The Red Devils had not won a trophy since 2016–17 when they won the EFL Cup and Europa League under previous manager Jose Mourinho. The club is competing for success in the Premier League, FA Cup, and Europa League in addition to those other competitions. The last time Newcastle won a major prize was the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 when they lost to Manchester United. Newcastle was defeated by United in the 1999 FA Cup final.
Silverware would highlight Man United’s upgrade
Manchester United has not lost since November 6 and is coming off a nine-game winning streak as they head to London. This run includes the thrilling victory over Barcelona on Thursday, which saw Ten Hag’s squad go into the round of 16 of the Europa League. However, with French forward Anthony Martial already ruled out, the health of leading scorer Marcus Rashford is a serious issue. After being replaced in the 88th minute of England’s match against Barcelona, the forward posted a picture of himself down the touchline looking uncomfortable and a bandaged emoji to Instagram.
With 24 goals this season, a career-high total, Rashford has been in blistering form for United after overcoming injury concerns in prior campaigns. Since the World Cup break, he has scored more goals than any other player in the top five leagues in Europe. Rashford asserted that your attitude is probably 95% football. It provides players with a performance standard. There are many athletes with talent, which is why they compete at the highest level, but what distinguishes them is their mentality.
In total contrast to the negativity and disharmony that surrounded their dismal 2021-22 season, United also remain in the FA Cup and has put themselves into a position to contend if league leaders Arsenal or second-placed Manchester City slip up in the Premier League title race. A first trophy for the club in almost six years would only likely add to the upbeat feeling that has been restored by the Dutch boss’ impressive start to his tenure and possibly provide further impetus in their chase for honours.
The fact that United is still in the FA Cup and has put itself in a position to compete if league leaders Arsenal or second-placed Manchester City falter in the Premier League title chase is a stark contrast to the pessimism and discord that accompanied their disastrous 2021–22 campaign. A first title for the team in nearly six years would undoubtedly boost the optimism that has been rekindled by the Netherlands manager’s strong start to his job and could give them even more motivation to pursue victories.
EFL Cup victory better than the top four: Alan Shearer
Bruno Guimaraes will be available after serving his suspension, but they will be without goalkeeper Nick Pope, who was dismissed when Liverpool ended their 17-game undefeated streak in the Premier League. The former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is anticipated to start ahead of Mark Gillespie as Newcastle looks to win at Wembley for the first time since their FA Cup victory in 1955 because Martin Dubravka is cup-tied and Karl Darlow is out on loan.
With a game remaining with the nation’s best defensive record, Newcastle is now ranked fifth in the Premier League, eight points behind Sunday’s opponents and a point behind Tottenham. The hiring of Howe and some cunning transfer deals have brought about a turnaround in their fortunes, which is a position far different from their troubles before the Saudi Arabian-backed ownership of the club in October 2021.