Friday, February 24, 2023

Carabao Cup

The Carabao Cup final at Wembley this Sunday will pit Manchester United against Newcastle. The Red Devils are on a red hot streak entering the match after defeating Barcelona on Thursday and having won nine of twelve in the Premier League to settle in behind only Arsenal and Manchester City in the table. Newcastle, have been on a different trajectory, winning just of their last seven league matches to fall from the Champions League qualification places. Worse yet, the excitement of a cup final has been somewhat tempered for Magpie supporters by the suspension of starting goalkeeper Nick Pope after an ill advised red card in the club’s last match. Second choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is also ineligible, having played on loan for none other than Manchester United earlier in the tournament. It will thus likely be Loris Karius between the sticks for Newcastle on Sunday. The former Liverpool goalkeeper is best known for his poor performance in a Champions League final, replete with two goal concessions of the howler variety, which resulted in a Liverpool loss to Real Madrid. The ignominy of that performance severely damaged the keeper’s career which has since taken meandering and unsuccessful turns though Turkey and Germany. While Karius seems the likely starter Sunday, Manager Eddie Howe does have fourth string goalkeeper Mark Gillespie available as an option as well. A redemptive clean sheet by Karius would be a marvelously redemptive if unlikely story. 

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