Newcastle United will be hoping their opponent’s hectic schedule ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final is something which will play to the Toon’s advantage.
Who will Newcastle play in the final?
Eddie Howe’s Magpies are obviously up against Manchester United on Sunday at Wembley Stadium but this is a United side who have had a much busier schedule than the Toon in recent weeks.
Since the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, Newcastle have played just three games in the Premier League, whereas, the Red Devils have now played six games across all competitions.
Having also played more recently than Newcastle in the lead-up to the trip to Wembley on the weekend, there is the notion Newcastle may hold the upper hand going into the game on Sunday.
Speaking on The Magpie Channel TV YouTube account, Sky Sports man Keith Downie has suggested this is a potential factor which could play into Newcastle’s favour:
(5:00) “I personally think and I asked Eddie Howe this the other day when I spoke to him. I think the fact that Newcastle are missing [Nick] Pope and they’ve got [Loris] Karius in goal. I think that compared to Man United playing Barcelona on the Thursday night and only having a couple of days to prepare. I think that’s a bit of a leveller, I think there’s a bit of a leveller there.
“And there’s going to be at some point, Man United have played that Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday. I know they beat Leicester last Sunday, but at some point, that’s going to have to come back and catch them out.”
What will this mean for Newcastle’s chances in the cup final?
Certainly, a view can be taken from this to suggest Newcastle may have the upper hand with their player’s potential fresher than their opponents.
As well as playing an extra five games, the United players have had to travel to Barcelona for the first leg of their Europa League clash and even played on Thursday night.
Playing just a matter of days before the cup final is something which surely Erik ten Hag will not view as the ideal preparation for their trip to Wembley on the weekend.
However, this does lead us on to an alternative viewpoint which takes into consideration the form of both sides going into the game at the national stadium.
Although Newcastle have played much fewer games than United, they have failed to win any of their games since the Carabao Cup semi-final game against Southampton.
Indeed, the Toon have been held to underwhelming draws against West Ham United and Bournemouth as well as a defeat on the weekend at home to Liverpool.
In comparison, the Red Devils have accepted the challenge of their fixture build-up and have not only strengthened their league position but also secured a spot in the next round of the Europa League.
A game on the Thursday night before a final is far from ideal, however, it will be interesting to see if the victory against Barcelona is something which will galvanise the United side or whether a toll will be taken on their players over the coming days.
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