Things we noticed in the 2023 Carabao Cup final

Sunday 26 February 2023 18:30

Manchester United are celebrating the first trophy of Erik ten Hag’s reign following a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Casemiro's header and an own goal by Sven Botman were the difference in front of a raucous crowd on our first trip to the national stadium since 2018. 

While the goals  are big talking points, there is plenty more to chew over after our meeting with the Magpies. 

So, scroll down for seven things that we noticed on a memorable afternoon in the capital…

United 2 Newcastle United 0


Goals from Casemiro and Rashford secure a fine win at Wembley and our first trophy in six years.


There was some concern after Marcus limped away from Thursday’s win over Barcelona, with Erik ten Hag not able to give too much of an update when he held his press conference fewer than 24 hours after the final whistle at Old Trafford. But our no.10 was fit to start and would go on to make a telling impact – as he so often has this season. Rashford played a big part in the second goal of the game, exactly seven years and a day after his Reds debut, as his shot looped in off Botman but, ultimately it was deemed off target so it went down as an own goal by the Newcastle man.


We have regularly waxed lyrical about the intricate play that Ten Hag’s side have produced so far this season, but the Reds also know when to adapt and be more direct when needed to. It was a theme of the early exchanges for United to cover more ground with longer passes into the frontline, bypassing the press and the energetic Newcastle midfield. It nearly bore fruit early on, had Wout Weghorst got a better connection on his first attempt of the game. It was another sign of the boss' tactical flexibility that has already often proven key in his first season here.

Ten Hag’s side had struggled for control in the opening half-hour of the game, but Newcastle hadn’t caused too many problems at our end of the pitch either. That was until David De Gea pulled off a tremendous save to deny Allan Saint-Maximin what looked to be a certain opener from close range. United would go on to break the deadlock shortly after, with David’s first-half efforts proving crucial to the final result, just like they did in the victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford seven days ago. The clean sheet – by our reckoning – also sees him become the club’s outright leader in that category on 181, having levelled Peter Schmeichel’s previous height of 180 in that win over the Foxes last week. He made another top stop in injury time, to deny Joelinton.


Casemiro knows a thing or two about major cup finals, and we could maybe start to say the same thing about his prowess in front of goal! The midfielder, not renowned in his Real Madrid days for getting on the scoresheet, netted the pivotal first goal to swing the momentum in our favour. It is actually his fourth strike in his last 12 matches, following on from his delicate finish against Bournemouth and his FA Cup double versus Reading.
David made a big stop to deny Saint-Maximin at 0-0.

A theme of this United side in on our recent impressive run of form has been scoring two times or more in matches. Following the goals today, the Reds have now achieved it in 19 of our last 21 outings across all competitions, which dates back to our first game in 2022/23’s run to Carabao Cup success – a 4-2 win over Aston Villa in the third round, back in November. The 2-0 win is also a repeat of the last cup final meeting with the Magpies, the FA Cup victory in 1998/99.


Both Ten Hag and his players credited the backing from the Old Trafford crowd as key to Thursday’s epic triumph over Barcelona, and our travelling faithful certainly brought that love down to north London for the cup final. The scarves and flags painted a picture before the game and a red wall that spurred the team onto victory during it. After several years without a trophy, it was special to see both players and fans enjoy this one together after the full-time whistle. Casemiro, for one, seemed to be indicating that this one was for the supporters. Here’s to more to come.
This was a sight to behold!

It has been talked about in the build-up to the game – by players, the manager, pundits and fans alike – how important the first trophy would be to this United side under Ten Hag. That is now in the bag and could be the springboard to more success in the years to come. United are still fighting on three fronts this season, and after some celebrations this evening, attentions will no doubt quickly turn to our Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie with West Ham United on Wednesday, as we look to return to Wembley again in the not-too-distant future.