An iconic venue will play host to two historic clubs on Sunday in the League Cup final.
Manchester United are back in a cup final for the first time since the 2021 Europa League, which they lost on penalties to Villareal. Their most recent triumph came in the same competition, in 2017.
The nearly six-year wait Man United are looking to end pales in comparison to Newcastle United, who are returning to Wembley for the first time since 1999 — and looking to end the club's 54-year trophy drought, a grueling wait that extends to 68 years domestically.
Ahead of an excellent EFL Cup final, check out our picks and predictions for Manchester United vs. Newcastle United.
Manchester United vs Newcastle odds
|-163||To Lift Trophy||+130|
|Over 2.5 (+105)||Total||Under 2.5 (-134)|
Odds courtesy of bet365 on February 24, 2023.
Manchester United vs Newcastle picks and predictions
Whether it's down to Erik ten Hag's imprint finally being shown through on the pitch, or Marcus Rashford simply turning into an unstoppable force, Manchester United's attack has come alive out of the World Cup break.
In Man United's 18 games across competitions, since the resumption of play following the World Cup, they've averaged 2.27 goals per game. Impressively, they've scored in all 18 fixtures and have been held to just one goal in two of those 18.
Only City and Arsenal have created more expected goals than Man United in the league, and even those teams — with rising stars like Erling Haaland and Bukayo Saka to play through — don't boast an attacker as in form as Rashford is.
When this final was set at the end of January, one would've thought an ever-improving Man United attack would be a great test for a seemingly impenetrable Newcastle defense, who hadn't conceded in the league since Nov. 6 at the time. The lead-up to Wembley, however, has derailed such a notion.
Not only have they conceded in three consecutive games — including against toothless attacks in West Ham and Bournemouth — but disaster struck last weekend against Liverpool. In what ended as a 2-0 loss, goalkeeper Nick Pope was given a straight red card and thus is suspended Sunday.
Making matters (almost impossibly) worse, second-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is cup-tied, having played in the competition in the fall while on loan at (of course) Man United. But wait, there's more! Third-choice goalkeeper, Karl Darlow, was allowed to leave on loan in the final minutes of the January transfer window.
Enter Loris Karius, he of infamy in Liverpool lore, and a turned journeyman keeper who last played a competitive game in February 2021. Oof.
Suffice to say, if Newcastle are to stay in this game and with a chance at lifting a trophy, their attack is going to need to be on point. While it hardly has been since the World Cup break, there is reason for optimism looking to Sunday.
That comes in the form of Bruno Guimaraes' return after a three-match suspension. Guimaraes changes everything for Newcastle moving forward. With their club revolution still in its infancy, they don't have anyone capable of replicating Bruno's quality in midfield and the final third.
In the 17 league games Bruno has played this season, Newcastle are averaging 1.94 goals and 1.88 xG per game. In the six he has missed, however, those figures drop to 0.66 goals and 1.58 xG.
With Guimaraes back in the lineup, we can expect Newcastle to create good opportunities moving forward and Man United can be breached. They're averaging over 1.1 goals and xGA per game in the league and, not for nothing, goalkeeper David de Gea is well worth testing. He's a fairly mistake-prone player and is 18th in post-shot xG (minus goals allowed) at -1.2 this season.
With cup finals so often existing in a vacuum, we can take away a lot of variables here and back both teams to score at Wembley.
My best bet: Both teams to score (-125 at bet365)
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Manchester United vs Newcastle side analysis
I don't have a play on a side here.
The 3-way moneyline price of +120 on Man United, who are rightfully favored, is tempting but not enough to make that leap of faith in a cup final that could quickly turn cagey if extra time looms on the horizon.
On the other side of full-time, however, neither of the odds to lift the trophy are appealing. Man United, at -163, is utter stay-away territory. If you expect them to win the trophy, I would just gamble on 90 minutes for a much better return — the unpredictability of extra time is far too great.
Manchester United vs Newcastle Over/Under analysis
There are a pair of full-game goal bets that I am comfortably hitting in addition to both teams to score.
The first is the Over on the 2.5-goal total (+105). There's a chance we head to extra time at 1-1 but the possibility one of these sides finds a decisive goal inside 90 minutes makes the plus-money on the full-game total too good to pass up.
The second is the Over 1.5 on Manchester United's team total (+120). I do expect a much greater defensive performance from Newcastle on Sunday than we've seen in recent weeks but even still, backing Man United to score multiple goals — as they have in 16 of their last 18 games — against a fourth-choice keeper who hasn't played competitively in two years feels like a good bet.
Manchester United vs Newcastle game info
|Location:||Wembley Stadium, London, England|
|Date:||Sunday, February 26, 2023|
|Time:||11:30 a.m. ET|
Manchester United vs Newcastle key injuries
Manchester United: Marcus Rashford ST (Questionable), Anthony Martial ST (Doubtful), Christian Eriksen CM (Out), Donny van de Beek (Out).
Newcastle: Nick Pope GK (Out), Martin Dubravka GK (Out), Anthony Gordon LM (Out).
Manchester United vs Newcastle weather
The skies will be clear on a sunny Sunday in London, as Manchester and Newcastle descend upon the capital for a cup final. Temperatures at kickoff are expected to be around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.