A historical EFL Cup final is set to commence at the iconic Wembley Stadium as Manchester United hunting for this silverware since 2017 faces Newcastle United who are at this stage for the first time in 24 years.
The Red Devils humbled Nottingham Forest 5-0 over two legs in the semi-final to reach here while the Magpies defeated Southampton 3-1 on aggregate in a tight contest to claim their place in the final.
MUN vs NUFC Match Details
Date: Sunday, 26 February 2023
Time: 22:00 (IST)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
MUN vs NUFC Match Preview
When Manchester United suffered humiliation in the opening two games of the season, many would have thought the club would enter into another spiral with another new manager at the helm. However, Erik ten Hag has proved that he is different from his predecessor in making the Red Devils more than an able contender for all the competitions available for them this campaign. Such has been the achievement for the Dutch manager that United now look at the possibility of ending their five-year-long trophy drought by triumphing at Wembley in the EFL Cup final on Sunday. It was the last domestic trophy that was won all those years back and winning it again will crown the turnaround of fortunes the club has witnessed in just a season after periods of doldrums. Ten Hag’s men have also taken a monumental step in Europe by beating Barcelona to make it in the last 16 of the Europa League while chances of winning the FA Cup or even the Premier League remain on the cards. But as seen by the character of the team, they are interested to take everything step by step in lowering their expectations rather than going for a glorified stance. After a huge win at Old Trafford on Thursday in which they went behind through a Robert Lewandowski penalty for the Catalan giants in yet another dismal first-half showing but turned it around in the second with Fred and Antony scoring to take them through 4-3 on aggregate, exhaustion could be a concern. That is added by Marcus Rashford’s fitness issues although Manchester United will not take any excuse ahead of such a massive game in which they could reward their manager for the era he started at the club.
Like their counterparts of the day, Newcastle United have gone from a relegation-fighting club to trophy contenders in the span of a season since the Saudi-led takeover of the club in 2021. After manager Eddie Howe took charge and with the help of efficient signings in the transfer window, the club has gone leaps and bounds to be a contender for the Champions League places in the Premier League with also an eye for the league cup trophy win at Wembley. The Magpies now have the chance to hand themselves a title after 68 long years. The last time they were in this sort of situation was in the 1999 FA Cup final which they lost 2-0 to Manchester United incidentally. Ruud Gullit was the manager back then. Now Howe wants to be the first manager to give Newcastle a trophy this century beating another Dutchman who is the first from his nation to manage an English league cup final. The former Bournemouth manager had a hands-on-the-head stuff moment last weekend when Nick Pope handled the ball outside the box with Mo Salah of Liverpool steaming on goal to get sent off leaving the side with no choice but to turn to Lorius Karius for the showpiece, the former Reds goalkeeper famous or infamous whichever way you call it for his blunders in the 2018 Champions League final. Newcastle lost the Premier League clash 2-0 ending their unbeaten streak of 18 games. They hope their only third defeat in all competitions does not clamp the spirits on Sunday so the players could enjoy the occasion. Winning the EFL Cup will truly be a historical feat for the side that looks to add more glory in the coming years under their new ownership.
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MUN vs NUFC Team News
Manchester United are sweating on Marcus Rashford’s fitness ahead of the final after the star forward pictured himself walking with his boot off captioned with an injured emoji. The 25-year-old was substituted late in the win against FC Barcelona. Ten Hag said the club is waiting on the medical checks to know his availability for Sunday. The manager also ruled out Anthony Martial from contention. However, Antony’s return from injury was a decisive factor as the Brazilian scored the winner on Thursday to help the team progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Nick Pope’s straight red card for handling the ball outside of his box against Liverpool last weekend keeps him suspended for the EFL Cup final. Second-choice-keeper Martin Dubravka is also ineligible after featuring earlier in the competition this season for opponents Manchester United on loan. Hence, Loris Karius will don the gloves in between the sticks to rescue Newcastle United from this goalkeeper selection conundrum. Anthony Gordon is also cup-tied after playing for Everton. Midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is back from his three-match suspension which is a huge boost for the side. Joe Willock is a doubt with a thigh injury. Miguel Almiron signed
MUN vs NUFC Predicted Lineups
MUN: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Marcus Rashford
NUFC: Loris Karius; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin
MUN vs NUFC Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: De Gea (8)
DEF: Trippier (9), L Martinez (8), Shaw (8.5)
MID: Antony (8), B Fernandes (9), Casemiro (9), Guimaraes (8.5), Joelinton (8.5)
FW: Rashford (9), Almiron (9)
Vice-captain: Bruno Fernandes
Captain: Marcus Rashford