Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening will play host to the Carabao Cup final between Newcastle United and Manchester United as both teams contend for the first major silverware for English top flight football.
The game, which is set to broadcast on GOtv, could also symbolise a battle between legacy and new order. Newcastle was acquired by a Saudi-led consortium in 2021, its new ownership has inspired a resurgence in form for the Magpies.
They fought their way to a first final since 1999, thereby complementing their impressive form in the league. However, they will have to overcome a tough test on Sunday against one of the traditional top six teams in England to announce their arrival as a new force.
But, it would not be an easy ride. Their opponent, Manchester United are desperately seeking to end a trophyless drought that has lasted for five seasons. The Red Devils last won a trophy in May 2017 when they defeated incumbent’s manager, Erik Ten Hag’s former club, Ajax in Stockholm. That season, under Jose Mourinho, United completed a double, having also won the Carabao Cup final against Southampton in February.
Eddie Howe, Newcastle’s manager, would head into this tie with a goalkeeper selection headache. First choice goalkeeper, Nick Pope was sent off in their last league game against Liverpool, while second choice goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka is ineligible for the contest because he previously played for Manchester United at the third round of the competition. This leaves Howe with third choice goalkeeper and Liverpool reject goalkeeper Loris Karius for the crunch clash.
Although Newcastle boast an impressive defensive record this season and they managed to secure a goalless draw when both teams met at Old Trafford in the league, the Red Devils are tipped to emerge victorious on Sunday. Erik Ten Hag’s men have bounced back from their topsy-turvy start to the season and they are currently competing in four competitions.
The presence of the in-form Marcus Rashford, who has scored 16 goals after the World Cup in Qatar, will serve as a further boost for the Red Devils. And the return of suspended midfielder Casemiro would provide the much needed steel for Manchester United in a match which they desperately need a win.
Will Newcastle United cause an upset to establish itself as an emerging English powerhouse or will Manchester United withstand the challenge to preserve the pride of Old Trafford faithfuls? We cannot wait to find out when the game unfolds live Supersport Football (GOtv ch. 31) at 5:30pm on Sunday evening.
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