The first piece of silverware of the 2022/23 season is up for grabs as Manchester United meet Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final.
Here are the latest match odds for Manchester United vs Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final.
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The biggest Premier League clubs do not always take the EFL Cup particularly seriously in the early rounds.
Managers often name second-string sides and use the competition as a chance to rest regular starters and blood academy products.
But by the time we get to the quarter-finals, those same teams start to eye the trophy that awaits the winners.
And with the final out of the way before the beginning of March, there is not much danger of continued participation in the EFL Cup adversely affecting a side’s endeavours in more prestigious competitions.
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Manchester United have looked keen to win this tournament from the very start. They have not had the hardest draw up to this point, with ties against Aston Villa, Burnley, Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest.
But you can only beat what is in front of you and Erik ten Hag’s team have done that pretty convincingly up to now.
United have not won a trophy since 2017, when Jose Mourinho guided them to glory in the Europa League.
The Red Devils are therefore craving to get their hands on silverware once again – but perhaps not quite as desperate as their upcoming opponents at Wembley.
Newcastle have not won a major tournament since way back in 1969, a whole eight years before their manager Eddie Howe was born.
Both teams will give everything to come out on top this weekend.
1 Our expert betting tips for Manchester United vs Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final.
Newcastle United are aching to end their extraordinarily lengthy trophy drought, but Manchester United could prove too strong on Sunday.
Manchester United are riding on the crest of a wave right now.
On Thursday, Ten Hag’s team beat Barcelona 2-1 to advance to the round of 16 of the Europa League.
After a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou last week, United came from a goal down at Old Trafford to eliminate Xavi Hernandez’s side, who are eight points clear at the top of the La Liga table.
It was another excellent result for United, who are firing on all cylinders right now.
A 3-0 triumph over Leicester City last weekend keeps them in the Premier League title race, while they will resume their FA Cup campaign on Wednesday.
There has even been tongue-in-cheek talk of a possible quadruple. Of course, that is highly improbable. But for it to even be a possibility shows how far Ten Hag’s side have come since that dismal start to the campaign.
While Manchester United are in fantastic form, the same cannot be said for their opponents.
Newcastle have won only one of their last seven Premier League outings, a sequence of results which has seen them drop out of the top four.
It would be wise to follow the form book on this occasion.
Put some money on Manchester United to beat Newcastle United to 6/5 with Spreadex
During Howe’s time at Bournemouth, his team frequently had one of the leakiest defences in the Premier League.
The Cherries tended to be productive going forward, but they continually struggled to keep the ball out of their own net.
At Newcastle, Howe has the opposite problem. The Magpies have by far the best defensive record in the Premier League. They have conceded 15 goals, which is eight fewer than the next-best Arsenal and Chelsea.
But Newcastle rank only 10th for goals scored and they have drawn a blank in four of their last seven top-flight encounters.
Eight of Newcastle’s last 10 matches in all competitions have featured zero, one or two goals.
Their best chance of victory on Sunday will be by keeping the score down, which is one reason why this is likely to be a low-scoring affair.
Another is the very nature of the game. There are no second chances in cup finals like this. That could make both teams more risk-averse than usual.
Three of the last four EFL Cup finals have featured under 2.5 goals, and this one could too.
Marcus Rashford has been in magnificent form since World Cup 2022.
The England international has scored 16 goals in his 18 appearances in all competitions post-Qatar. Rashford is playing the best football of his career so far.
That is why Manchester United fans are concerned after the forward picked up a knock in Thursday’s triumph over Barcelona.
Whereas Ten Hag might be willing to risk Rashford in an FA Cup or Europa League final given those matches come right at the end of the season, he will be more wary of doing so this weekend.
“I don’t know, the players now are coming in, we have to do investigations, medical of course, we did straight after the game, but most of the time you have to wait for a 100 percent diagnosis,” Ten Hag said on Friday. “So let’s do the medical, the work, we have to wait.”
With Rashford potentially out, Bruno Fernandes looks like the best pick in the anytime goalscorer market.
The Portugal international takes penalties for United and he is an excellent finisher from open play too.
Back Bruno Fernandes to score any time at 5/2 with Spreadex
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