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Can Newcastle Win The Carabao Cup?

Can Newcastle Win The Carabao Cup?

The 2023 Carabao Cup final takes place this coming Sunday as Newcastle & Manchester United go head-to-head at Wembley in a bid to claim the first piece of available silverware of the season.

It’s perhaps not the fixture that many would have predicted at the start of the season but it’s set to be intriguing clash between the two sides who have a lot of history.

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Rivalry

Other than Sunderland, it would be fair to say that Manchester United are one of Newcastle’s biggest rivals. Although the competition between the two sides has been distant for several years, they now find themselves on somewhat similar levels and almost side-by-side in the Premier League table.

It’s been almost 27 years since ex-Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan made his iconic and famous rant towards Sir Alex Ferguson when the two were bitter rivals challenging for the title in the season of 1996. Newcastle were dubbed ‘The Entertainers’ back then and it was a good time for their fans despite not being able to clinch the title, finishing in 2nd place in consecutive seasons. The Magpies have had their fair share ups and downs since those days but the most recent years have been especially disheartening for them. However, a new era is upon them and they now find themselves with new owners who are ready to invest, a new manager who has performed wonders since arriving on Tyneside towards the end of 2021 and a handful of new players who have gelled well and adopted the strong team spirit that seems to be flowing throughout the club.

u0022I will love it!u0022 - Kevin Keegan's infamous rant
u0022I will love it!u0022 – Kevin Keegan’s infamous rant

Drive To End The Drought

Reaching the Carabao Cup final is an achievement in itself but it won’t be enough for the players, the club or the fans should they lose on Sunday. Unlike Manchester United who have a relatively modest trophy cabinet, albeit maybe not as it once was, Newcastle are in search of their first major trophy since 1955 and they have a real chance of ending that drought at the weekend.

Newcastle reached the FA Cup final in 1998 & 1999 but came out short on both occasions, losing 2-0 to Arsenal and then Sunday’s opponents, Manchester United. They haven’t progressed past the quarter-finals of the League Cup since they reached the final way back in 1976 and so this is an opportunity that they’ll surely not take for granted.

Online bookies BetUK and Unibet have Newcastle at a best price of 6/4 to lift the trophy on Sunday.

Eddie Howe

In his relatively short time as manager of Newcastle United, Eddie Howe has already claimed a place in the hearts of Newcastle United fans. Not only has he guided the club to a current fifth place in the Premier League table and just 8 points adrift of third-placed Manchester United with a game in hand, he has also displayed exceptional player management.

Several Newcastle United players have been transformed under Howe with the likes of Joelinton and Miguel Almirón finding a level of form this season that had not been seen since their arrival. Howe has the entire squad playing as one and their momentum throughout the season doesn’t seem to be diminishing.

You could say that his tactics in certain situations as Newcastle manager are yet to be fully tested but he certainly knows how to get the very best out of his players and set them up to be a solid unit against the best of sides.

Rashford

All eyes will be on Marcus Rashford this weekend as the 25 year old looks for his sixth Carabao Cup goal of the season. He’ll be the main threat to Newcastle on Sunday but if the Magpies back line can keep him contained, their chances of lifting the trophy would be greatly increased.

Rashford has scored or assisted in 13 of the 15 games he’s featured in for Manchester United since his return from the World Cup. United do have other players who are more than capable in front of goal but eliminating the main threat will be key for Eddie Howes side.

Following his recent run of good form, UK bookies have Rashford as third favourite to be crowned PFA Player of the Year at best odds of 7/1.

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Defence

Perhaps one of Newcastle’s greatest strengths this season is their defence. They’ve conceded just 15 goals in 23 league games this term which is 8 less than table-toppers Arsenal, 9 less than current league champions Manchester City and 13 fewer than Sunday’s opponants.

The two goals that they conceded in last weekend’s match at St James’ Park against Liverpool would have been an unfamiliar feeling for them but it’s unlikely that result will have a negative impact on the team given how consistent they’ve been this season.

Newcastle’s back line have managed an impressive 12 clean sheets this season. That’s over 50% of their games in the league. Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Kieron Trippier and Fabian Schar have dealt with the best strikers in the league and come out on top many times this season. They should be able to handle Manchester United’s 6ft6 Wout Weghorst in the air and they limited Manchester United’s shots on target to just 2 in 90 minutes when the two sides last met at Old Trafford back in October.

Midfield & Attack

Newcastle have been short of goals of late which will be a worry for fans. Callum Wilson has just one goal to his name since October and Alexander Isak has found the net once since returning from injury at the beginning of the year. The lack of goals from Newcastle’s strikers could be put down to how teams have been lining up against them this season with many happy to take a single point away from head-to-heads with Howe’s side.

However, I can’t see Manchester United piling players behind the ball in the final which could open up opportunities for whichever forward Eddie Howe chooses to start. Newcastle also have goals in them from their midfield. Miguel Almiron has 10 goals to his name this season, the same as Wilson & Issak combined. Newcastle will also be welcoming back Bruno Guimarães who will be a key player and could give Newcastle the edge to go on and win it.

Guimarães has missed the last three games for his club after being shown a straight red card in Newcastle’s EFL Cup second leg against Southampton last month. The Brazilian, who has been arguably one of the best midfielders in the league this season, has been a huge miss for the Magpies and will be up for this final as much as any other Newcastle player. He’ll be up against Manchester United’s Casemiro in the centre of the pitch which should be a great battle on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction

The outcome of the 2023 Carabao Cup final is a tough one to predict. Manchester United head into the game in great form but Newcastle’s consistency this season can’t be ignored. They’ve held off the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Sunday’s opponents this season who all failed to beat Eddie Howe’s side. It’s been 67 years since Tyneside received a major trophy and there’s no doubt that Eddie Howe will make sure that fact is in the head of every player come Sunday.

Manchester United head into the match as the bookies favourites but you should definitely not write Newcastle.

Can they win it?

Absolutely.

WhichBookie’s Liam Johnson will be providing football betting tips for the Carabao Cup final with tips being live on Sunday morning.

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