Carabao Cup 2023 Final Preview and Prediction

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We take a look at the final of the Carabao Cup, where Man United and Newcastle lock heads. We take a look at each team’s road to the final and predict who will win the Carabao Cup.

Road To The Final

Man United

Third Round: Man United 4 – 2 Aston Villa

Man United entered the competition with a home tie against fellow Premier League side Aston Villa. The game started slowly but burst into life at the start of the second half. Ollie Watkins took the lead for the away side after 48 minutes, before Martial instantly equalised for the hosts. A Diogo Dalot own goal restored the lead for the away side just after the hour mark before Marcus Rashford got United’s second equaliser just a few moments later.

Bruno Fernandes gave United the lead for the first time in the tie with 12 minutes to play, with McTominay securing United’s progress to the next round with a goal in stoppage time.

Fourth Round: Man United 2 – 0 Burnley

United hosted Championship side Burnley in the fourth round. Many fans would have assumed this was going to be an easy win, but Burnley are a good side. Top of the Championship, and playing well, this could have been a difficult tie for United.

On the day, United performed well, but Burnley certainly played their part in the tie. Christian Eriksen opened the scoring for United after 27 minutes, with Rashford scoring just before the hour mark, putting United through to the quarter-finals.

Quarter Final: Man United 3 – 0 Charlton Athletic

United was handed yet another tie, against lower-league opposition. This time they welcomed Charlton Athletic of League One to Old Trafford in what was always expected to be a routine win.

Antony set United on course with a goal after 21 minutes, but Charlton kept themselves in the game. A late brace from Marcus Rashford ensured the score line looked more comfortable, winning 3-0 and ensuring they would advance to the semi-finals.

Semi Final First Leg: Nottingham Forest 0 – 3 Man United

United was handed their first away game of the tournament, playing their first leg away from home against Nottingham Forest. Forest had seen their fortunes change after the World Cup break, with them being very strong at home in the Premier League.

That form did not continue as United impressed. Rashford scored after just 6 minutes to set United on their way, with new signing Wout Weghorst getting on the scoresheet, and Bruno Fernandes essentially ensuring United’s progress with a third in the 89th minute.

It was only halftime in the tie, but United would have to suffer a major collapse, at home, if they were to be knocked out.

Semi-Final Second Leg: Man United 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest

United would have been forgiven for making changes and taking this game slowly. They were essentially through already and were in red hot form.

This form continued. They dominated the game, and scored a quick-fire double deep into the second half, with Martial netting first, and Fred getting on the scoresheet 3 minutes later, winning 5-0 on aggregate.


Second Round: Tranmere Rovers 1 – 2 Newcastle

Newcastle began their Carabao Cup journey away against league 2 side Tranmere Rovers. Newcastle fielded a largely rotated team, with some strong names still in the lineup such as Joe Willock, and Chris Wood, and subs such as Trippier, Botman and Joelinton coming on.

It did not go completely Newcastle’s way this game. Elliott Nevitt gave the home side a surprise lead at Prenton Park after 21 minutes. Jamal Lascelles equalised just before half-time, sending Newcastle in level at the break. Chris Wood hit the winning goal in the game just 7 minutes after the restart, giving Newcastle a nervy and not entirely convincing victory.

Third Round: Newcastle 0 – 0 Crystal Palace (3-2 on Pens)

In the third round, Newcastle was handed a home tie and fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace. The game lacked quality, with both sides not registering many shots on target. 90 minutes came and went, with neither team getting the best of the other, ultimately sending the game to penalties.

The ever-impressive Nick Pope became the hero, saving spot-kicks from Milivojevic, Mateta and Ebiowei, with Sven Botman and Bruno Guimarães missing for the hosts.

Fourth Round: Newcastle 1 – 0 Bournemouth

In the fourth round, Newcastle was handed their second home game against a Premier League side, this time against Bournemouth.

Newcastle dominated the ball, and created a fair few chances, but could not find that cutting edge to put them in front. Adam Smith diverted the ball into his own net after 67 minutes, sending Newcastle into the quarter-finals.

Quarter Final: Newcastle 2 – 0 Leicester

Newcastle was handed their third all-Premier League tie at home, against Leicester this time. They did not have to rely on penalties or own goals this time, as they dominated the game from start to finish, limiting Leicester to just one shot on target, compared to Newcastle’s 9.

Dan Burn put Newcastle in front with a goal on the hour mark, before Joelinton gave Newcastle a more comfortable score line, with Newcastle’s second goal 12 minutes later. Newcastle advanced to the league cup semi-finals for the first time since 1976, putting them one step closer to ending their long wait for a trophy.

Semi-Final First Leg: Southampton 0 – 1 Newcastle

Newcastle drew Southampton in the semi-finals, playing them at St Marys before welcoming them to St James’ Park. The first leg lacked any real quality, with both sides mustering just 3 shots on target. The deadlock finally got broken by Joelinton after 73 minutes, giving Newcastle the advantage.

Any chance of a Southampton response was dashed as Caleta-Car received a red card, reduced Southampton to 10 men for the remainder of the game, and ensured they returned to St James’ Park with a lead to build on.

Semi-Final Second Leg: Newcastle 2 – 1 Southampton

Newcastle was 90 minutes away from the final, and they made a quick start to settle any early nerves from the fans. Sean Longstaff is the unlikely scorer, putting Newcastle 2-0 up on aggregate after 5 minutes. He then doubled Newcastle’s lead on the day and gave them a 3-0 aggregate scoreline after 21 minutes.

Che Adams pulled one back just before the half-hour mark, to give Southampton a slender chance, but they were unable to capitalise on this. Bruno Guimarães received a red card with less than 10 minutes remaining, but they held on firm, ensuring they would feature in the final, winning 3-1 on aggregate.


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Man United have been brilliant lately. Since losing in the most dramatic fashion against Arsenal, they beat Crystal Palace 2-1, who have been giving the bigger teams trouble in recent weeks, drawn with, and beat, Leeds United, 2-2 and 2-0 respectively, and have also beat Leicester 3-0.

United also returned to action in the Europa League, where they had an extremely difficult tie, coming up against Barcelona twice. In the first leg, United drew 2-2 at Camp Nou. Marcos Alonso put Barcelona 1-0 up, with Marcus Rashford equalising 2 minutes later. Jules Kounde put through his own net 7 minutes later, putting United in the lead. They could not hold onto it, however, as Raphinha levelled for Barcelona.

United had the advantage in this tie, but Robert Lewandowski had other ideas. He netted a penalty just 18 minutes into the first half to give Barcelona the lead on the night, and on aggregate. United turned the tie around in the second half again, through Fred and Antony, knocking the Spanish giants out 4-3 on aggregate.

Marcus Rashford is in ridiculous form lately. His career has completely revived since the arrival of ten Haag, looking like a completely different player. A number of other players are performing at a much higher level since ten Haag’s arrival, one player being Fred. Under previous managers, fans were unimpressed with Fred, calling for him to be sold in the transfer window, yet now, under ten Haag, he looks undroppable at times, and he has now started to get himself on the scoresheet.

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Newcastle is slumping at the worst possible time. They have not won in their last 4 Premier League games, having drawn 3 and lost 1. They looked like a completely different side in their game against Liverpool. They were too easy to break down, with simple balls over the top of the defence coming off too many times. Nick Pope foolishly rushed out to clear one of them, only to handball and get sent off, resulting in him missing the final.

This is a huge loss for Newcastle, as he has been one of their standout performers this season. He is the reason Newcastle beat Crystal Palace in the third round, saving 3 penalties in their shootout. Newcastle has also been suffering without Bruno Guimarães. Their points per game average are much higher when he is on the pitch than when he is off it. Newcastle needs to learn to deal with the absence of their key men if they are to have any chance of winning this final.

The strange thing about Newcastle is that they looked like a much better side when they went down to 10 men against Liverpool. They were more adventurous going forward and managed to break through their defence multiple times. Yet with 11 men, they were so ineffective.

It will be interesting to see who lines up for Newcastle, especially in midfield and in the net. They need to approach this game in the right way. They have done brilliantly making it to the final, and they are only 90 minutes away from potentially lifting some silverware.


Nick Pope is going to be a huge miss for Newcastle. Whilst they do have good backup keepers, they are not quite on Pope’s level. United are in red-hot form at the moment, and Marcus Rashford just cannot stop scoring. Newcastle has been stumbling through games lately and has dropped out of the top 4. They have not won in their last 4 games, whereas United have won 3 of their last 4.

If Bruno Guimarães is playing for Newcastle, then it could be more difficult to call. He really gets Newcastle going, and their drop in form in his absence is alarming. If he does not play, this could be a straightforward win for United.

My money is on United here. It will be a close game, and both teams will be dying to win a trophy this season, more so Newcastle. The form of Rashford, and the decline in form of Newcastle, surely plays into United’s hands here. Both teams are to score and United wins here.

Prediction: Man United 2 – 1 Newcastle

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