Man Utd host Newcastle in the third round of the League Cup tonight, newly named the Capital One Cup (7.45pm BST, Wednesday, Sept 26). For both sides this is their opening match in the competition as the Premier League’s top teams enter later than all their lesser opponents.
Manchester United and Newcastle have started the new Premier League season averagely well, but neither will be ecstatic about their performances. As is normal in this competition, they are likely to make a number of changes, not only due to heavy workloads but to give other members in their squad a chance to impress. This is their third match inside a week, after being involved in Europe last week.
Man Utd started the season with a defeat to Everton and have won every game since, leaving them on a five game winning streak and full of confidence. Last weekend they were fortunate to beat 10-man Liverpool, needing a Robin Van Persie penalty five minutes from time from to beat their old enemies.
United had surprisingly gone behind in the match just after half time, but after an excellent goal from defender Rafael, Van Persie stepped up once again to seal all three points. After his summer move from Arsenal, Van Persie has settled right in to life at United, and has already scored five league goals in just four starts.
Alex Ferguson would have been pleased to see a penalty finally converted, as United had missed their previous three spot-kicks so far this season. United also won their first Champions League match last week against Galatasaray, but as has been the case this season, they scraped home with the help of the woodwork late on.
United are likely to rest a number of players including Van Persie, Kagawa and Giggs, but in a squad with such depth, players such as Welbeck and Hernandez could feature from the start.
Newcastle have only lost once so far this season, but they are currently tenth in the Premier League due to a lack of goals and their inability to win tight games. Their initial victory over Tottenham should have acted as the spring-board for another successful season. Since then they have drawn with Everton, Aston Villa and Maritimo in the Europa League last Thursday.
Newcastle did lose 2-0 to Chelsea, but they won’t have worried that much about the result as much as they will have done about their other drawn matches. Last weekend Newcastle beat Norwich 1-0 at home. After Demba Ba scored an early goal, the expectation was they would have won comfortably. Papiss Cisse missed a penalty and Newcastle were left hanging on at the end.
Newcastle are also likely to rest a number of Premier League regulars, and those who played in an under-strength side in the Europa League last week are ikely to feature again. If Alan Pardew does decide to pick those players, then Shola and Sammi Ameobi could well start alongside former Manchester United player Obertan.
Manchester United were on the wrong side of giant killing last year in this League Cup, when they were beaten by Crystal Palace at home in the quarter-finals. Ferguson will not want a repeat of that and Manchester United should be too strong.
Betting Tips Advice: Manchester United to win 2-1 (best odds 8/1 BetVictor)