Manchester United’s pursuit of a first major title since 2017 brings them to Wembley Stadium on Sunday for a mouth-watering Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United.
Fresh from landing a place in the Europa League round of 16, courtesy of a 4-3 aggregate triumph over runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona in their blockbuster knockout play-off tie, United switch back to domestic duties.
Erik ten Hag’s men come into proceedings off the back of an impressive week, following a 3-0 demolition of Leicester City with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Blaugrana.
Since lifting the EFL Cup in 2017 under Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils have never come this close to winning another piece of domestic silverware, with enthusiasm streaming through the Old Trafford faithful’s veins again.
But Newcastle will be looking to stop the Red Devils in their tracks as they seek their first major domestic trophy since conquering the FA Cup in the 1954/55 campaign.
A 3-1 beating of United’s cross-city rivals Manchester City in that final coincidentally remains the Magpies’ last win at Wembley, with the Tyneside outfit since losing eight consecutive matches at this venue.
Unfortunately for highly-rated manager Eddie Howe, his charges will have to deal with Man United’s free-scoring frontline without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope.
He picked up a straight red card in last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool for a reckless handball outside the box, leaving Howe with a huge decision to make.
With Martin Dubravka ‘cup-tied’ following his Carabao Cup exploits with United during the first half of the season, Newcastle may have to call upon former Anfield scapegoat Loris Karius to stand between the sticks.
Sunday’s showdown will mark Man Utd’s tenth appearance in the League Cup final, though they’ve experienced mixed fortunes in their nine previous attempts to seize the prize (W5, L4).
The Red Devils have been victorious in two of their three League Cup encounters against Newcastle (L1), including a 2-1 triumph in their most recent meeting in 2012.
Familiar with Wembley surroundings, Man Utd will record their 53rd outing at the famous stadium, discounting their away games against Tottenham Hotspur between 2017 and 2019.
Winning the Carabao Cup would be a historic achievement for Newcastle, who were on the receiving end of a 2-1 scoreline in their only previous shot at the crown in 1975/76 against Man City.
Grand finals have not been a happy hunting ground for the Magpies by any stretch of the imagination, as they’ve lost their last four title-deciding fixtures, most recently losing to Man United in the 1999 FA Cup showpiece.
To avenge that loss, Howe’s team will have to arrest an underwhelming six-game winless H2H run against the Red Devils (D2, L4), although a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford earlier this season gives them a reason for optimism.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United Potential Line-ups
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Wout Weghorst.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Max Thompson; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock; Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, Alexander Isak.
How to Watch?
Manchester United vs Newcastle United, alongside all other Red Devils’ fixtures, is available to watch online via Manchester United live streams.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United Prediction
Man United are still sweating over headline performer Marcus Rashford, who was spotted limping out of Old Trafford in the dying moments of Thursday’s win over Barcelona.
But even without their goalscoring machine, the Red Devils are seemingly in a prime position to pip Newcastle to the throne, with the Magpies faltering in their last three domestic outings (D2, L1).
Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle United
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