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Carabao Cup Final – Manchester United v Newcastle Combined XI

Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United will face off against Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United tomorrow afternoon in the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Ahead of this much-anticipated encounter, we’ve decided to pick our Manchester United v Newcastle United combined XI…

David de Gea – Goalkeeper

Nick Pope has been in inspired form for Newcastle this season and we’d have probably picked him in our combined XI had it not been for his much-publicised suspension for Sunday’s final.

 

With Newcastle’s number two Martin Dubravka cup-tied after playing for Man Utd earlier this season, it’s a no-brainer to put De Gea between the sticks ahead of former Liverpool man Loris Karius.

De Gea has been a brilliant servant for United since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2011, the Spanish shot-stopper winning the clubs player of the year award on four occasions and making over 400 Premier League appearances.

While the 32-year-old is undoubtedly a world-class shot-stopper, questions remain over whether he can be the type of ball-playing goalkeeper that suits Erik Ten Hag’s preferred style in the long-term.

Kieran Trippier – Right-Back 

Newcastle have made several astute purchases since their Saudi-backed takeover, and none more so than the £12 million they paid Atletico Madrid to bring Kieran Trippier back to English football.

Already a fine footballer, the 32-year-old has returned from La Liga even more technically proficient and has instantly taken place as a leader within Eddie Howe’s side.

Solid in defence, though it is going forward where Trippier acts as one of Newcastle’s main attacking outlets, the former Spurs man right at the top of the Premier League rankings for chances created and successful crosses.

Raphael Varane – Centre-Back

Although Sven Botman and Fabian Schar have been key to Newcastle’s brilliant defensive record this season, neither is anywhere near the quality of Manchester United’s World Cup winner, Raphael Varane.

The four-time Champions League winner struggled at times last season next to the much-maligned Harry Maguire, but the former Real Madrid man’s partnership with Lisandro Martinez has been crucial in United’s recent revival.

A brilliant organiser and one-on-one defender, Manchester United fans will be hopeful their club will reap the benefits of the 29-year-old’s recent retirement from international duty.

Lisandro Martinez – Centre-Back

After spending the first half of the season proving to everyone he in fact is not too small to play as a centre-back in the Premier League, the 25-year-old nipped over to Qatar to win a World Cup alongside Lionel Messi.

Already a cult hero at Old Trafford, Martinez combines insane levels of aggression with a silky ability on the ball when playing out from the back.

Luke Shaw – Left-Back

After rightly losing his place to Tyrell Malacia after those woeful early defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Shaw has responded by playing the best football of his United career.

His recent performances at centre-back have shown a growing maturity and tactical intelligence, while his quality in attack from left-back is a real asset to the Red Devils.

Bruno Guimaraes – Midfield 

Another player who has quickly reached cult hero status with his club’s fans, the Brazil international has impressed massively since his move from Lyon in January 2022.

Bruno G is the very definition of an all-round midfielder, and it’s legitimately difficult to find a weakness in his game.

If Newcastle are to seal their first major piece of silverware since the 50s at Wembley on Sunday, they will need a big performance from their talismanic midfielder.

Casemiro – Midfield 

Let’s be honest very few of us understood just how good a footballer Casemiro was until he moved to Manchester United late in the summer window.

In fact, his signing had all the hallmarks of a Man United panic buy, but instead, it quickly became clear that he is one of the finest midfielders of his generation who has had a transformative impact on Erik Ten Hag’s side.

A leader, dripping with big-game experience, United fans will sleep easy tonight knowing the Brazilian will be marshalling their midfield tomorrow afternoon.

Bruno Fernandes – Midfield

After a slow start to the season, Man United’s stand-in skipper has returned to his best form since returning from the World Cup. Whether playing centrally or from the right, the Portuguese schemer is his side’s main creative force and the man who makes them tick in attack.

Desperate to win his first trophy as a Man United player, shutting down the combative playmaker will surely be top of Eddie Howe’s to-do list.

Miguel Almiron – Right-Wing

Watching Miggy Almiron go from a hard-working struggler to one of the most decisive attackers in English football has been one of the feel-good stories of the season.

Almiron struggled for form and confidence after his record-breaking transfer to Newcastle in 2018/19 and many would have thought he would be one of the first players out the door after the Saudi takeover.

However, the Paraguayan has found the form of his life under Eddie Howe with his 10 Premier League goals this season, more than he managed in his previous four campaigns combined.

Could Almiron’s redemption arc reach its height by scoring the winner at Wembley to end Newcastle’s long, long trophy drought?

Marcus Rashford – Left-Wing

Speaking of attacking players in the form of their lives…

Marcus Rashford has been in sensational form since his return from the World Cup, with the 25-year-old finally starting to deliver on the huge potential we first saw when he broke into the United team as a fresh-faced 18-year-old.

As shown by the quality and variety of his goals Rashford has clearly taken his game to the next level in recent times and is relishing being United’s main man after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Callum Wilson – Striker

With neither squad blessed with many options as an out-and-out striker, we’ve decided to go with the 30-year-old England international.

A clinical finisher when given a chance, Wilson has bagged 27 Premier League goals for Newcastle in just 61 appearances since he move from Bournemouth in 2020.

Wilson deserves massive credit for fighting his way back from two potentially career-ending knee injuries to win a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the recent Qatar World Cup.

Read – Iconic Performances: Arsenal legend Bergkamp scores THAT hat-trick at Leicester

Read Also – Eight of the most memorable games between Man Utd and Barcelona

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