5 reasons this season’s Carabao Cup could make history

23 February 2023

5 reasons this season’s Carabao Cup could make history

As Newcastle United prepare to take on Manchester United at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final, live on Showmax Pro on Sunday, 26 February, courtesy of SuperSport, here’s a look at why the tournament has some extra significance this season.

An opportunity to shake up the “big six”

It’s been an overpowering status quo of dominance imposed by the collective “big six” of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. With superior resources, they have had a stranglehold on trophies as well as the spots for European qualification.

No tournament shows this better than the Carabao Cup. It’s been 10 years since there’s been a team that’s won the tournament outside of this elite group.

Unlike Swansea’s success in 2013, if Newcastle do win, it might not end up being just a one-time triumph. With the investment under their new Saudi Arabian owners and a clear improvement in results, this could be a stepping stone for the club to disrupt the status quo permanently.

A chance for post-Fergie silverware for Manchester United

It’s been a relatively fruitless 10 years for the Red Devils since the great Sir Alex Ferguson retired, but the Carabao Cup final offers an opportunity for some much-needed post-Fergie silverware.

Since the Scot left in 2013, Manchester United have won the FA Cup once (2016), the Carabao Cup once (2017) and the Europa League once (2017). For a club of their stature, it’s a seriously lean period of their history.

The Carabao Cup is a tournament that they’ve won five times before and lifting it this season could be their most significant triumph in their history of the tournament.

A chance for Newcastle to end an extraordinary trophy drought

You have to go back to 1955 for the day Newcastle last lifted a major domestic trophy. Since then, 35 other clubs have won silverware, and most of them are a smaller club than Newcastle.

It’s one of the biggest anomalies in English football that a club that size hasn’t lifted a major trophy in 68 years. Expect one of the most emotional fan celebrations of them all if they lift one on Sunday.

Justification for Ten Hag

Replacing Ferguson was always going to be one of the hardest tasks in football and the manager’s job at Manchester United has seemed like a poisoned chalice ever since the legend left the club.

Six managers later, Erik Ten Hag is on the verge of taking a huge step towards cementing himself as the one to properly take United forward.

Initially, his transfer business was criticised for working off a network that wasn’t any bigger than what he was familiar with in the Netherlands. However, the good results have spoken for themselves.

His strong stance of not buckling to Cristiano Ronaldo’s megastar status has looked to have paid off and his handling of the demotion of captain Harry Maguire has been a lot smoother than was feared.

The Carabao Cup might not be the biggest tournament on their radar, but winning it would be a great start for the Dutchman’s project.

A rare chance of an English manager lifting a trophy

Not only would Eddie Howe be one of the more likeable characters to win a trophy in recent times, it would provide an extremely rare sight of a local manager experiencing true success in England.

You have to go back 19 years since the last English manager lifted the Carabao Cup (Steve McClaren with Middlesbrough) which has added to the growing notion that in order to be successful, a club has to bring in foreign expertise.

For Howe, it would be especially significant considering that when he was first hired at Newcastle, his mandate was to take them away from the relegation zone. To improve on that with silverware in his second season would mark an extraordinary accomplishment.

Leading them to a trophy win would serve as great vindication for more clubs to back English managerial talent.

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