Carabao Cup final predictions: Magpies can strike first at Wembley
- Newcastle have scored the first goal in five of their last eight games
- Manchester United have conceded the first goal in three of their last five games
- Recommended bet: Newcastle to score the first goal
Two clubs seeking to end trophy droughts clash at Wembley on Sunday when Manchester United take on Newcastle in the Carabao Cup Final.
It is almost six years since United delivered their last piece of major silverware while the Newcastle fans have had wait nine times longer to see the Magpies get their hands on any trophy of similar significance.
The Red Devils, who overcame Aston Villa, Burnley, Charlton and Nottingham Forest on their path to Wembley, arrive in London fresh from a statement victory over Barcelona in the Europa League.
Eddie Howe's team, who progressed past Tranmere, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Leicester and Southampton, suffered a home Premier League defeat to Liverpool last weekend and lost first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope to suspension.
United manager Erik ten Hag could not confirm whether Marcus Rashford would be fit for the final after seeing his 24-goal top scorer limp off towards the end of Thursday's win over Barcelona.
Anthony Martial will definitely miss out with a hip injury which should mean Wout Weghorst, who has scored only once since moving to Manchester in January, starts in the number nine role.
Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek remain sidelined with longer-term injuries, but Ten Hag does have options with which to freshen his line-up.
Diogo Dalot could replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back and Marcel Sabitzer may get another chance in midfield, although the Dutchman will be loathed to break up the Brazilian duo of Casemiro and Fred in the Reds' engine room.
Newcastle's brilliant Brazilian Bruno Guimaraes returns from a three-game domestic ban to take up his regular place in midfield — where he will probably be joined by Joelinton and Sean Longstaff.
Joelinton and Kieran Trippier were taken off with problems in the second half of last Saturday's defeat, but they have both trained as normal this week.
Striker Callum Wilson was able to train all week for the first time in more than a month and will push Alexander Isak hard for the starting centre-forward berth while Joe Willock could also play some part after overcoming a thigh injury.
Pope's suspension means third-choice keeper Loris Karius will be handed his first competitive start for the club as backup gloveman Martin Dubravka is cup-tied after appearing for Ten Hag's team earlier in the competition.
Of Ten Hag's squad, only Marcus Rashford, David De Gea, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial have lifted a trophy as a United player.
Sunday's game will be two days short of two years since Karius last played a competitive game for anyone.
The German's only semi-serious run-out for Newcastle came when he got 45 minutes of action against Al Hilal in a mid-season friendly in Saudi Arabia last December.
But he did make three notable saves in the first half of a 5-0 win against a team that went on to face Real Madrid in this month's World Club Cup Final, losing 5-3.
The collective groan on Tyneside when Pope was sent off last week could almost be heard in Manchester, but Karius will be desperate to ensure his career is not only remembered for the mistakes that cost Liverpool dear in the 2018 Champions League Final.
And, if he were to gain some redemption, he would not be the first back-up goalkeeper to shine in a big cup final.
He will be playing behind the meanest defence in the Premier League while United dangerman Rashford may not be 100% for the occasion.
Newcastle's biggest concern probably lies at the other end of the pitch where they are having problems scoring on a consistent basis.
Howe's men have scored multiple goals in only two of their last 11 fixtures, but one goal might be enough for them on Sunday if it is the all-important first.
United have conceded the first goal in three of their last five games as the sheer number of matches they have faced appears to have reduced their ability to get into stride quickly.
Newcastle, who have bagged the first goal in five of their last eight games, can exploit that with an intense beginning at Wembley.