What You Need to Know as Newcastle United Face Manchester United at Wembley
This Sunday 26th February, Newcastle United head to Wembley for their first domestic cup final since 1999. Here's everything you need to know
Even the most optimistic of Newcastle fans couldn’t have anticipated such an electric start to life under Howe, with the club contesting for European places in the league and with a shot at silverware coming in his first full season in charge.
However, while this may feel like ‘ahead of schedule’ success – the Geordies will be desperate to end their long wait for trophies and usher in a new era, one that the whole city has yearned for for so long.
Newcastle’s last visit to Wembley saw an Alan Shearer-led side defeated 2–0 by Sunday’s opponents, as Alex Ferguson's Red Devils lifted the FA Cup. The Magpies will be itching to set the record straight.
Newcastle United come into the game in their worst form of the season. Goals have dried up since the world cup break and the team suffered only their second defeat of the season to Liverpool at St James’s Park on Sunday. They are also without goalkeeper Nick Pope who was sent off for a deliberate handball in the defeat.
However, the Magpies still maintain the best defensive record in the country and welcome back talismanic midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who has missed the last 3 games with suspension following his straight red card in the second leg of the semi-final against Southampton. Newcastle have won just 12.5 percent of the games Bruno has missed this season, compared to 66 percent when he has featured.
Manchester United, England’s most successful club, are themselves going through their own relative trophy drought, having not tasted silverware since lifting the 2017 Europa League trophy under Jose Mourinho. They will be desperate to get their own new manager, Dutchman Eric Ten Hag’s, regime off to a trophy-winning start.
Unlike Newcastle, the Red Devils are in their best form of the season, having won 13 of their 17 games since the post-World Cup restart. The two sides played out a cagey 0–0 draw at Old Trafford in October.
For the Toon: Kieran Trippier
Trippier has been a hugely influential figure since signing in January 2022. He is Newcastle’s on pitch leader but crucially is hugely involved in their build up play down the right hand side. His quality from set piece deliveries is also outstanding and something Newcastle will aim to capitalise on at Wembley.
For Man United: Marcus Rashford
Rashford is arguably the form player in Europe right now, with 16 goals in 17 games since the World Cup – four more than all Newcastle players combined! Schar and Botman will have to be alert to his movement and pace in behind in order to maintain Newcastle’s excellent defensive record.
Bruno Guimaraes v Casemiro
There’s a Brazilian feel to both sides’ central midfields, with Joelinton and Bruno matching up against Fred and Casemiro. This will be less ‘jogo bonito’ and more battle of wills however, as although all four are capable of samba skills, they are better known for their energy, tough tackling and all round midfield play. While Bruno has become instrumental to the way Newcastle play, winning turnovers, maintaining possession and bringing the ball forward from the back, Casemiro has been earning the same plaudits in Manchester. And while Bruno is at the start of his career looking to lead his team into the Champions League, Casemiro has been there and done it. The former Real Madrid man lifted European football’s top trophy five times during his time in the Spanish capital.
Manchester United’s form makes them slight favourites, but we don’t expect an open game here and think Newcastle will be a tougher nut to crack than some Manchester United have had to face recently. We think this one could go all the way (with local boy Sean Longstaff to score the winning penalty!).
Where to Watch
For those not lucky enough to bag a ticket but who plan on travelling to London anyway – Trafalgar Square is the place to be on Saturday. For Sunday, Newcastle United Supporters Club London have put together a great guide, find it on Twitter @thelondonmags. If you're not going to Wembley you can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football channels.