It’s rotation time this week on M16 0RA, as Manchester United entertain Newcastle United in the newly titled Capital One Cup.
As we all know, we are a team renowned for having strength in depth in our squad, and although that means we have players who can come in to fill in for others in every position, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we can field a completely new starting XI; who aren’t familiar with each other in a competitive game; and breeze through to the next round. We’re just as renowned for slipping up in the early rounds of this competition when fielding those unfamiliar line-ups. Defeats to Southend in 2006, Coventry in 2007 and Crystal Palace last season. Newcastle, who haven’t won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1955, wont be easy.
One of the good points about being able to rotate…or should that be FORCED to rotate in this game is that Darren Fletcher could be set for a first start for us in more than 10 months. The football genius has been recovering from a chronic bowel problem that has kept him out for almost an entire year.
New signings Nick Powell and Alex Buttner could also make the starting line-up for the first time, while Chilean forward Angelo Henrique could make his debut after joining the club in the summer.
The United team will be chosen out of a stripped down squad, padded out with youth and reserve players, from: De Gea, Lindegaard, Johnstone, Rafael, Evans, Keane, Buttner, Valencia, Anderson, Nani, Carrick, Cleverley, Fletcher, Powell, Cole, Lingard, Vermijl, Tunnicliffe, Hernandez, Welbeck, Macheda, King.
For the visitors, Alan Pardew is expected to play both Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote in this one.
Both of them are recovering from knocks, with Argentina international Coloccini overcoming a hamstring problem, and Ivory Coast midfielder Tiote is fit again after a calf injury.
Rob Elliot is likely to feature in goal, while ex –United youngster Danny Simpson could be back in training later this week following a hamstring injury.
Newcastle squad: Harper, Elliot, Tavernier, Ferguson, Perch, S. Taylor, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Anita, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Vuckic, Abeid, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Ba, Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Campbell.
- It is 40 years since Newcastle’s last win at Old Trafford – a 2-0 win over the reds in 1972.
- United are chasing their third League Cup in five years this season.
- We have won 31 of our last 37 League Cup games at Old Trafford, losing just four.
It’s only the Carling Fizzy Pop Worthington Littlewoods Rumbleows thing…
Sometimes we still say this. Usually in the first tie of the season for us, and our preferences are the ‘big three’ trophies that rank above this one.
But then, some seasons it has been our only bit of silverware, and the glory and euphoria from hearing the final whistle when it’s ours is still a bit magical . We’ve won the cup!
And it easily stumbles out of our mind that last year…had we have won the League Cup, it’d have been our only pot on the sideboard – but alas, the season closed and there was nothing there.
For me, The Capital One Cup is something we should want to win. In the stands and on the pitch. Win the title AND the Carling Cup, and it’s a brilliant bonus – not the real league and cup double of course; but the mark of a fantastic season.
Let’s hope for a win on Wednesday, against a team who may very well be putting this competition high up in the priority zone for their season after surpassing expectations last term. Winning a trophy is the next step for Newcastle – it’ll be tough.
Wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.
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