Road to Wembley: Carabao Cup Final 2023

The 63rd EFL Cup is about to wrap up and it has really been an enthralling one. Starting from the third round where big teams started to join, there have been entertaining matches; unbelievable results, thrilling comebacks and painful losses, with Arsenal gotten knocked off as early as the third round, and Manchester City trashing Chelsea and Liverpool before suffering a shocking defeat to Southampton. The competition has always been an entertaining one, and of course didn’t fail to be one this time.

Now the final showdown is set to take place between two ‘Uniteds’; Manchester United and Newcastle United at the grand Wembley Stadium this Sunday. An uncommon event, as this will be the first time in 24 years the Magpies will be in a final (the 1999 FA cup), coincidentally also facing the Red Devils, ending with a 2-0 defeat. Worthy to note that the Red Devils have been trophyless for the fifth consecutive season after close attempts; bottling six semi-finals and a final. All eyes on the first major silverware of the domestic season as both clubs are looking to end their long trophy drought.

Overall, Manchester United have been very impressive this season and look to be challenging for titles on all fronts. They have just knocked out Barcelona in the UEFA Europa League, proceeding to the round of 16 and are few points behind Manchester City, also seem to be up for the League title race. Marcus Rashford; the man of the moment has over 30 goals contributions this so far, the highest he has ever had and we are just barely past the half of the season. Newcastle United have also had a very good form. They’ve not produced this level of consistency for nearly 2 decades, and are currently sat 5th in the Premier League. Miguel Almíron has been putting a scintillating show as he has been deadly on the attack, having 11 goals contributions so far but has dipped in recent weeks which has coincided with a general dip in form at the club.

Both teams have been on a good run in the competition so far. Manchester United has been on a winning spree, effortlessly walking over any team that come their way, smothering Nottingham Forest on a 5-0 aggregate win has to be the most impressive. Newcastle on the other hand did not have it easy, after they had to get past Crystal Palace on penalties, and narrowly defeating Bournemouth thanks to an own goal.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has been on fire, with 5 goals as the joint top scorer in the competition. The Reds have only conceded in one match in their run so far, keeping clean sheets in 4 out of 5 matches so far. The team performance from Newcastle United in the competition has been stellar so far, with Nick Pope putting up a show by saving 3 out of 5 kicks during the penalty shootout against Crystal Palace. However, Nick Pope will be missing at the final as he was sent off in their last Premier League match against Liverpool. Loris Karius who hasn’t played a match since 2021 will have to deputise as second choice keeper Martin Dubravka is cup-tied, having already played for Man U in the competition.

Nick Pope in action

The atmosphere will be a fair one as the two teams have equal chances of clinching the title. Manchester United are in their highest form, and Newcastle United have been having a good season so far. Will Manchester United finally end their final woes? Or are Newcastle United finally getting their hands on a silverware after more than 6 decades? Time will be the final arbiter, as this will be decided this Sunday. It is a highly anticipated match, and it is going to be an interesting watch.

Sidiq Moshood

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