The League Cup final is ahead.
Manchester United are the only team this season that still have four trophy chances. On Sunday, the club can take the first award since the 2016/17 season, but for this they need to beat Newcastle in the League Cup final. Erik ten Hag is expecting a difficult match.
Newcastle are the outsider of the league in terms of net playing time. But the dragging champion will not play in the final – Nick Pope
Before the match, Ten Hag admitted that Newcastle’s time-wasting can be annoying, but at the same time praised the opposition for the organization of the game: “They are a great team with a clear philosophy of how they want to play football. The key word here is intensity. They are really good, they are hard to play against, so we need to find a way to beat them.
They are trying to annoy you, but we have to play our game and focus on ourselves. Newcastle have the lowest effective playing time in the league and excel at it. So the speed in the game depends on us, a lot will also depend on the work of the referees.”
Are Newcastle really playing for time?
Opta confirms Ten Hag’s words – Newcastle are at the bottom of the league in net playing time: when Eddie Howe’s team is on the field, the ball is in play for only 52.3% of the total time.
But this does not prevent Newcastle and its main goalkeeper Nick Pope from leading the Premier League in dry matches this season – there are already 12 of them in 23 rounds (or 52.2% of crackers).
It is Pope who is considered the king of time delay: he has two yellow cards in the season for this – with Chelsea (1: 0) and Tottenham (2: 1), and Liverpool fans have been remembering since August how he wasted them half of the injury time (Klopp’s team still put the squeeze on the 98th minute – 2:1).
In the last round, Pope again stumbled at Liverpool (0:2) – he received a red card in the 22nd minute and deprived himself of the final. “Newcastle” from this is even more painful, because the second goalkeeper Martin Dubravka will also not be able to play, since he has already played for Manchester United in this League Cup (he played there on loan). The third keeper remains – the same Loris Karius , who played the last official match already two years ago, and, as we all know, is not always reliable in the finals.
Newcastle are motivated as much as possible – they want to win the first trophy in England in 67 years
Eddie Howe has been energizing the team to win tournaments for several months now. Since November, before each training session, players see the same inscription on the screen:
“We haven’t won a domestic trophy in 67 years.”
The last time Newcastle took the trophy at home was in 1955 – the FA Cup. Since then, there have been three more Cup Finals lost, as well as defeats in the League Cup Final and the Super Bowl.
There were mini-successes in Europe: the Fairs Cup in 1969 and the Intertoto Cup in 2006. But still, this cannot be attributed to some significant victories.
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