Euro 2020 Special

League Cup Final Preview: Who Will Win the Battle of the Uniteds?

The first silverware of the English domestic season will be at stake when Manchester United play Newcastle United at Wembley on Sunday, February 26th in the League Cup final (although for sponsorship reasons it is known as the Carabao Cup).

The match is due to start at 4.30 pm.

Both clubs are at the start of new eras. After recent managerial upheavals, United, under Erik ten Hag, appear to have an identity again, and are still in four competitions this season. Newcastle, meanwhile, following the takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium in 2021 are evolving into a team ready to compete for all the major honours both domestically and in Europe,


The road to the final

Manchester United

United entered the competition at the third round stage (courtesy of their involvement in European football) and began their campaign with a 4 – 2 home victory over Aston Villa, before beating Championship leaders Burnley also at home.

An easy home victory over League One Charlton Athletic then saw them face a two legged semi-final against Nottingham Forest, whom they beat both home and away, winning with a five goal aggregate margin, to earn their Wembley place.


Newcastle United

Newcastle began their campaign in the Northern Section of the Second Round, and were given a scare away at Tranmere Rovers, falling behind to the League Two side, before completing a comeback.

They then needed penalties to beat Crystal Palace in the third round at St. James Park.

One goal was enough to see off Bournemouth in the fourth round, before they ran out two goal winners in their quarter-final against Leicester City.

Their semi-final tie pitted them against Southampton. They won away narrowly on the South Coast and completed the job in front of their own fans, despite finishing the match with just ten players.


Head to head record

The weight of history is on the side of United. The pair have played each other 174 times, and the current record reads 90 wins to them, 43 to Newcastle and 41 draws.

The only previous time they have met in a final was back in 1999, when goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes gave United victory, and they went on to complete a domestic treble that year.

United have also the better League Cup record, having won the Cup five times, before, most recently back in 2017.

Newcastle have never won it, the closest they have come is when they finished runners-up to Manchester City in 1976.

Their one previous league match this season ended in a goalless draw at Old Trafford back in October.


Newcastle’s long wait for silverware

In fact, Newcastle have not won a major trophy of any kind since winning the old Fairs Cup in 1969. In the intervening period, Manchester United have won multiple league titles, domestic cups, the Champions League, and the Europa League.


Goalkeeping blow

Newcastle’s hopes have been dealt a major blow with their first choice goalkeeper Nick Pope missing the final due to suspension, having been sent off against Liverpool in the Premier League last weekend for handling the ball outside his area.

His normal replacement Martin Dubravka cannot play either, because he was on loan at United during the first part of the season at United, and has already played for them twice in this competition.

Instead, Newcastle will be forced to turn to German Loris Karius, who has never played for the club, and who is best remembered for his horror show in the 2018 Champions League final, when, playing for Liverpool, who gifted two goals to Real Madrid.


Form Guide

Newcastle were third in the table at Christmas, but have gone off the boil since, and have not won for more than a month in the Premier League. Last weekend they lost at home to Newcastle, and they have now dropped out of the top four.

By contrast, United under Erik ten Hag are having a fine season, have moved into the top three, and look like they are ready to sustain a title challenge.

And, their confidence will be sky high, having just knocked Barcelona out of the Europa League, drawing away in Spain and overcoming a first half deficit in the return leg.



Given their current form, United will start favourites to ensure that Newcastle will have to wait a little longer for that elusive trophy.

Newcastle will be hoping that Thursday night’s exertions have taken their toll on United, and also that Karius can redeem himself in another major final.




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