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Ones to watch: Manchester United vs Newcastle United (Carabao Cup Final)



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Credit: IMAGO

Manchester United will travel down to Wembley Stadium on Sunday as they face Newcastle United for the season’s inaugural piece of domestic silverware.

The final presents either side with an opportunity to end their respective silverware-less streaks. 

Both sides have been on an upward trajectory this season. Manchester United has prospered with the appointment of Erik ten Hag, and the new ownership model alongside Eddie Howe is overheading the new project that has seen Newcastle United go from relegation strugglers to Champions League spot contenders.

There will be numerous players from either side who could have a profound effect on the fixture, but there is one key battle that stands out.

Despite United edging their opposition domestically, there are numerous individual battles that will have to be won if either side is to triumph on Sunday. 

So let’s have a look at the key battle to watch: 

Manchester United — Casemiro

As for much of the season, The Reds will ought to look upon their Brazilian defensive midfielder, Casemiro, to be their driving force in the final. 

Regarded as the “guard dog in the middle”, Casemiro has had a transformative impact within the United team — on and off the field —  since the day he walked through the Carrington doors. 

Casemiro has been the lynchpin on which United has built much of its success defensively, but it has also been a pleasant surprise how crucial he has been in possession. 

Throughout his Madrid career, he had Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos — two elite ball-playing central midfielders — flanking him and taking much of the build-up burden off him. 

At United, he has embraced a more demanding role on the ball and pleasantly excelled. With Christian Eriksen expected to miss the rest of the season, Casemiro’s refinement in possession will be much needed for the final and the rest of the season. 

The five-time Champions League winner is not a stranger to the big occasions, and as he has done for much of his career at the top – he will look to be part of a winning side on Sunday – and be the main reason for it.

Read More: Erik ten Hag reveals six Manchester United players who have ‘killer’ mentalities

Newcastle United — Bruno Guimarães

Newcastle United have a Brazilian midfield anchor of their own in the form of Bruno Guimarães. 

The  25-year-old may not be as experienced or successful as his opposition compatriot, but what Guimarães lacks in years, he certainly makes up in his incredible quality. 

Guimarães, who suffered a 3-match domestic ban for Newcastle after his red card against Southampton, has been an undescribable miss for the Magpies in recent weeks. 

Since joining the club in January 2022, the trajectory of Newcastle as a club and his arrival is no coincidence. 

The Brazilian’s quality in all facets of midfield play has elevated Newcastle as a footballing side, in and out of possession. 

He is often the first outfield player receiving the ball from the goalkeeper and the man they look towards to provide the creative ingenuity in the final third. 

Casemiro is a player that Guimarães will have a lot of respect and admiration for, but if he is to win the midfield battle on Sunday, he will have to outclass the man he looks up to. 

And if Newcastle is to end their 54-year trophy drought, Guimarães will undoubtedly be at the centre of it.

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