Manchester United tops Newcastle, lifts League Cup
Manchester United ended a short trophy drought on Sunday by winning the League Cup at Wembley Stadium, their 2-0 win extending Newcastle United’s drought to a much bigger number.
Marcus Rashford and Casemiro scored, the cantankerous central midfielder an easy pick as Man of the Match as Man Utd claimed its first trophy since a League Cup and Europa League double in 2017.
It’s Manchester United’s sixth League Cup and brings the Red Devils into third place all-time for tournament titles behind Liverpool (9) and Man City (8).
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It’s also Erik ten Hag’s first trophy with the Red Devils and the Dutchman showed his mastery of the game by shutting down the Magpies attack in the second half.
There’s no just question that United’s entire mentality has changed since the club okayed the axing of club legend Cristiano Ronaldo, okayed the keeping of captain Harry Maguire on the bench, and showed the world that the keys were very much in Ten Hag’s grip.
Eddie Howe will continue his wait to win a top trophy, though he did lead Bournemouth to three promotions from League Two to the Premier League from 2010-15.
Newcastle hadn’t played in a final since 1999 and hasn’t won a domestic trophy since 1955. The stadium was awash in black and white, and the club will feel the best is yet to come.
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Erik ten Hag gets his first (of many?) jewels
Manchester United might’ve been off-balance early as Newcastle was up for this fight, but Erik ten Hag’s work over 90 minutes was well-timed and methodical.
Once the Red Devils had their lead, Ten Hag showed his acumen as tournament boss. Diogo Dalot, on yellow and a little wild, was yanked at halftime. Fred would join him in the 69th minute.
This is where United arguably won the match despite ceding possession to the Magpies. Marcel Sabitzer and Scott McTominay helped lock down the desperate and lively opponents.
Just when it was going to be a little too much to ask of his defenders, Jadon Sancho arrived from Antony. Then it was a feel-good sub of Harry Maguire for Marcus Rashford, the former getting long-earned time on the pitch in a winning final while the latter got his just desserts from the crowd.
The FA Cup field sets up well for Man United, the Europa League isn’t a bridge too far, and there’s even a little bit of a Premier League glint in their eyes. Man United’s on the move.
Newcastle’s ahead-of-schedule project now just on schedule
For all of the problems Newcastle faced ahead of this one, including Nick Pope’s silly suspension and Martin Dubravka’s cup-tied status, Eddie Howe can rewatch this tape and know two things:
- He had his men set up to compete
- He lost track of the game when things went awry
These are learning experiences for the manager as well as his players, who certainly did not have the big-game acumen of Raphael Varane and Casemiro. And perhaps that led to Newcastle’s lack of cutting edge in a game it won the xG battle 1.17-0.86.
With Anthony Gordon also cup-tied, the Magpies bench was never something Howe looked comfortable turning to in his time of need.
Alexander Isak entered at the break for an attacking push but Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin eventually ran out of gas and Howe plugged in decent players like Joe Willock but not names like Sabitzer, Sancho, and Maguire (whatever you think of them).
That’s the dream, and it won’t make Newcastle feel good right now but another year of actually buying in the market will make the Magpies a true club threat.
Loris Karius gets a solid moment
Man United’s deflected goal initially looked bad, but it’s difficult not to feel like Loris Karius was a winner in defeat.
The third-string goalkeeper was vilified by some for a tough second half in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid despite his suffering an undiagnosed concussion at the hands of Sergio Ramos and playing through it.
Karius made seven saves on Sunday as Manchester United chased a third goal with Newcastle wide open while chasing a comeback.
Manchester United vs Newcastle player ratings: Stars of the Show
Casemiro: An absolute force. His headed opener was a fitting highlight for a player who does all the small and nasty things in the middle of the park.
Raphael Varane: Like Casemiro above, he showed steely reserve as well as that hunger that never leaves the great ones despite so many trophies won.
Luke Shaw: What a ball for Casemiro’s opener; Largely shut down Miguel Almiron apart from a bright first 10-15 minutes.
Marcus Rashford: What injury worry?
Bruno Guimaraes: Gave away a bad free kick for one of United’s goals but was the reason Newcastle looked a threat to get back in it the rest of the way.
Kieran Trippier: Who would’ve thought, with apologies to Reece James, that the 32-year-old Trippier would come back to England from Atletico Madrid and be the most complete right back in the Premier League?
Man United hosts West Ham in FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday before going to Liverpool on Sunday.
Newcastle can’t lick its wounds for too long with a trip to Manchester City on deck for Saturday.
League Cup live score, updates: Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United
11:55am ET: It’s a proper fight, this one. Newcastle has had more of the ball but Manchester United got behind the Magpies back line through Marcus Rashford and will feel it, too, could be up a goal.
Casemiro has been very busy for Man United, who has two of the game’s three shots -- both saved by Loris Karius, who looks comfortable enough.
Diogo Dalot is on a yellow card and the Red Devils have clearly chosen violence early in this one, collecting four fouls.
12:03pm ET: Strange one here, as Fabian Schar is allowed to play on despite what appeared to be a concussion that’s left him looking unsteady.
Now Allan Saint-Maximin is cutting a rug on the right side of the Man Utd goal, but his chance is blocked. “St. Max” begs handball, but nothing comes of it.
12:05pm ET: GOOOOOAAAAL!!! CASEMIRO!!! We’ve been saying how well he’s played, and now the Brazilian has thumped home Luke Shaw’s free kick. Was it offside, though? lines are being drawn...
No. Onside! Casemiro is a force and he’s been in quite a few games like this before: Manchester United 1, Newcastle United 0
12:08pm ET: Newcastle has responded quickly, though without finish, and the Magpies do see a yellow card awarded to Fred for their troubles. That puts Dalot and Fred on yellow within 37 minutes of kickoff.
12:11pm ET: GOOOOOAAALL! MARCUS RASHFORD! Wout Weghorst lumbers forward to play Rashford into the box, and the forward’s shot takes a slight turn off Sven Botman. Karius is at sixes and sevens and can only get piece of the ball. Manchester United 2, Newcastle United 0.
12:19pm ET: Newcastle needs halftime, but it also needs goals. It almost gets the latter when Dan Burn thuds a header wide of the goal off a sweet corner kick play.
But the Magpies will get the former soon, and as Sean Longstaff wiggles on the turf trying to get a second yellow out of Fred... Newcastle could use some refocusing as well.
12:38pm ET: Two subs at the break. Dalot and his yellow leave for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, while Eddie Howe removes Sean Longstaff for Alexander Isak. More attack.
12:50pm ET: Second half has been just as scrappy, especially because Man United doesn’t need to do much of anything to claim a trophy that would send a statement around the Premier League.
Newcastle now winning the xG fight, 0.74-0.50. There’s no trophy for that, though.
12:59pm ET: Allan Saint-Maximin is trying to will the Magpies back into this and he’s won a corner kick, but it doesn’t come to much.
Man United has been very disciplined and Ten Hag has his men sinking eight, nine behind the ball. It’s going to take something special to get Newcastle back in this but there’s 25 minutes plus stoppage to go at Wembley.
1:06pm ET: Time’s always a factor when you’re down 2-0, but it’s a looming judgment with 18 minutes to go.
Man Utd’s brought in Scott McTominay and Marcel Sabitzer to shut things down, but Howe clearly doesn’t think he has difference makers on the bench as Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy, and Elliot Anderson are his best attacking options.
Might Matt Targett or Javi Manquillo for Dan Burn might make sense?
How to watch Manchester United vs Newcastle United live, stream link and start time
Key storylines & star players
The Red Devils may not have 100% Marcus Rashford for the final but they’ll be happy he’s passed fit to start after an injury against Barcelona, while Newcastle won’t have suspended Nick Pope.
The Red Devils did get Antony back for the Europa League Round of 16 at midweek, while Newcastle doesn’t have backup goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who oddly enough is cup-tied to Man United, so Loris Karius is set to make his first Magpies start.
More notable for Newcastle, perhaps, is that its best player is back in the fold after a three-game suspension: Premier League Best XI favorite Bruno Guimaraes returns to the team.
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Anthony Martial (hip), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE)
Newcastle United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Nick Pope (suspension), Emil Krafth (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Joelinton (thigh), Joe Willock (thigh)