Manchester United play Newcastle United in the final of the EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday from 16:30 GMT. The game will be played before a capacity crowd at this iconic venue, with millions worldwide following the play live on television. Here we have a meeting of two teams pushing for a top-four finish in the English Premier League and entry to next season’s UEFA Champions League. But for now, they focus on winning this season’s first available piece of silverware. Will Man Utd add another trophy to an already impressive list of achievements, or will the Magpies nick the silver?
The Red Devils find themselves as the red-hot favorite with pundits, neutrals, and odds-makers, but they know it would be foolish to write off their opponents before a ball has been kicked. The Toon Army will travel south, intent on making plenty of noise and encouraging their team to dig deep and win the EFL Cup. Doing so would prove the squad with a jolt in the arm before they return to their quest for a top-four finish and Champions League football at St James’ Park. Newcastle may be the underdogs ahead of this Wembley showdown, but they certainly bring plenty of bite.
Will Man Utd be the cup winners, or can Newcastle cause an upset? This is a final, and the trophy will be decided on the day, with extra time and penalties available if required. There are no wrong answers at this stage, as a strong case could be made for either side getting the job done. To offer a helping hand, our team of football writers cast their eye over the final and offer their views on the form before making predictions on how the game might play out. By the end of the article, you’ll have all the information needed to make a strong and well-researched prediction of the game.
United down the Tricky Trees
Man Utd was handed an exciting semi-final against fellow Premier League side Nottingham Forest that was played over two legs. The underdogs had the momentum heading into that game and dreamt of making a rare appearance in a major cup final, but they could not stop the United express train. The Red Devils progressed from the last four to the final courtesy of a stunning 5-0 aggregate score. They won the first match 3-0 at the City Ground before finishing their opponents off with a 2-0 waltz at the Theatre of Dreams. It was about as easy as fans hoped, but they face a sterner challenge in the final.
The victors eased to the next stage with a win at home in the second leg thanks to goals from Martial and Fred. The bare result tells the story of a straightforward victory for a team that had been expected to win, but in truth, they were pushed hard by a dogged and determined Forest side that refused to roll over on the big occasion. The first goal in that 2-0 win was scored by Martial with 73 minutes on the clock before Fred knocked in a second less than three minutes later. If the game wasn’t beyond the Tricky Trees after losing the first leg 3-0 in Nottinham, it certainly was dead and buried as Fred celebrated.
Man Utd warmed up for this game with a home match against Barcelona in the Europa League second leg. That was another tiring contest and was the second time they faced the La Liga winners in the space of a week. The first leg ended in a dramatic 2- 2 draw which only piled pressure on the players ahead of the return game in Lancashire. Will we see signs of that energy-sapping European night in Sunday’s game? All will be revealed at kick-off.
Magpies chasing treasure
Newcastle United fans haven’t found themselves in the final of a respected competition in some time, so they’ll be eager to make the most of the occasion. It has been a stunning season at St James Park already with the team fighting for a place in the top-four. Adding a rare piece of silverware to the list would be a huge boost for everyone connected to the team. In an ideal world for Newcastle fans, the club would win this cup and finish fourth.
There is a long way to go on their league campaign and they face an uphill challenge to deny Man Utd another trophy. The team are here on merit though and they know it. They have been written off by just about everyone ahead of this week’s decisive EFL Cup game, but when has that ever stoped a side finding success in a final. This is a one-off match where league form and past meetings count for little. It’s a slugfest and the Toon Army will show no fear in London.
They booked their place in the final with a two-legged victory over Southampton in the semi-finals, a tie they won 3-1 on aggregate. The first game at St Mary’s Stadium finished in a 1-1 draw, handing a slight advantage to Newcastle who were at home for that all-importan second leg. They made it count with an impressive 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Longstaff who struck an eye-catching double in his man of the match performance.
Man Utd v Newcastle prediction
Man Utd are the deserved favorites ahead of this game, but know they can’t take their opponents lightly on Sunday. If United plays anything like they have been doing recently, including that emphatic aggregate win over Nottingham Forest, they should be good enough to win the trophy.
EFL Cup odds
The pre-match betting odds has Man Utd at 2.23 with Newcastle 3.3 and the draw 3.3.
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