Manchester United vs Newcastle United: Preview and Prediction
After dumping Barcelona from the Europa League, high-flying Manchester United are set to face off against Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. It has been a long-six year wait for the Reds to win their first piece of silverware, first under the tutelage of coach Erik Ten Hag who has the Old Trafford faithful buzzing again.
For the last major trophy won by the Toons, one would have to go back until 1954-55 when they lifted the FA Cup. It’s been a while since the Magpies came close to adding another trophy to their glorious cabinet, however, Eddie Howe would like to kick-start a new era at Tyneside under the new ownership by winning the EFL Cup, to end their long wait for silverware.
They come into this fixture on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. In fact, Howe’s side last picked up a win in the second leg of the semifinal in this competition and have been winless in their past three outings. The Red Devils, on the other hand, recently defeated Xavi’s side 2-1 and they haven’t lost a game since being beaten by Arsenal 3-2 in January.
Both these clubs come into the final in contrasting form, while Ten Hag’s side looks like the team to beat, having not tasted a defeat in their last 9 matches, two wins over Southampton who sit rock bottom in the Premier League standings, two draws and a loss would hardly inspire confidence among the Tyneside faithful.
Both teams have been transformed ever since their respective new coaches took over but the similarities end there. While the Red Devils can’t stop scoring at the moment, having put three goals past Leicester City last weekend, the last time Howe’s side scored three without reply, was back in December.
Thus, judging by the current form, it’s the Old Trafford outfit who seem likelier to end their trophy drought.
In total, these two clubs have squared off on 45 occasions to date across all competitions, with the Reds having enjoyed a massive upper hand having claimed 29 wins, while the Magpies have only won six times, whereas 10 games between then ended all square. The last time these clubs locked horns it was in the Premier League and the match ended 0-0.
Both Ten Hag and Howe face some selection dilemmas coming into the summit clash but at opposite ends of the pitch. For the Reds, Marcus Rashford remains doubtful having limped off against Barca, whereas the goalkeeping situation at Tyneside has dominated much of the team talk.
Nick Pope’s red card against Liverpool has put his coach in jeopardy since his backup Martin Dubravka is cup-tied due to his loan spell at Old Trafford. Anthony Gordon is cup-tied too, leaving Loris Karius and Mark Gillespie as the two possible choices between the sticks. Karious seems more likely to make his debut for the Toons but hasn’t played any senior competitive games since February 2021.
His last appearance for an English club came in Kyiv, against Real Madrid, and the rest is history. Meanwhile, Bruno Guimaraes should be back having served his suspension, while Joelinton and Joe Willock remain doubtful, although the Brazilian is likelier to get the nod if he can shake off his thigh issue.
Christian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek, and Anthony Martial are the only long-term absentees for the Red Devils. Antony, after scoring the winner in Europa League might start, and if Rashford is fit to play, he may yet start ahead of the lacklustre Wout Weghorst who has subbed off at half-time recently.
Predicted Starting XIs
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Marcus Rashford
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Loris Karius; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin.
Judging by the current form of both teams, the Reds will certainly fancy their chances to win their first silverware under Ten Hag, although it won’t be easy against Howe’s side.
More recently, the St. James’ Park outfit has lacked an attacking incisiveness, and add to the fact with an out-of-practise Karius in goal, Man United won’t need a second invitation to trouble the Toons. The Old Trafford outfit is likelier to continue their hunt for the quadruple.