Manchester United crushed the Geordie dream of winning some silverware after Ten Hag’s team came out 2-0 winners at Wembley in the Carabao Cup Final.
It was two first half goals, seven minutes apart, which put Newcastle on the back foot and punished them for not having that ultimate bit of quality in the final third.
Eddie Howe’s men came out of the dressing room at Wembley looking the more dangerous in front of goal within the first half an hour however it was a Casemiro header which broke the deadlock between the two sides scoring for Manchester United somewhat against the run of play.
Casemiro has been brilliant all season and the Brazilian showed his quality by opening up the scoring, heading home a pinpoint Luke Shaw free kick.
For the Manchester United fans, who better to add to the score sheet then one of their own, local boy Marcus Rashford, who came through the Academy and has been outstanding for the club since his return from the World Cup, was the player who put the Red Devils in firm control heading into half time.
Rashford’s shot took an unfortunate deflection off Newcastle centre-back Sven Botman with stand in goalkeeper Loris Karius unable to stop the ball hitting the back of the net after the shot hit his teammate.
Rashford’s deflected strike broke the hearts of the Newcastle fans who travelled in their thousands to the capital for their most anticipated game of the new owner’s regime, as well as their first cup final for 24 years.
One of the talking points heading into the final was the goalkeeping situation for Eddie Howe’s team.
Nick Pope is firmly Newcastle’s number one goalkeeper however he was suspended for the cup final after, in a moment of panic, the England international was given a straight red card against Liverpool after handing the ball outside the box. As a result, he had to miss the following game and unfortunately for him, this was the awaited cup final.
The goalkeeping saga continued as second choice goalkeeper Martin Dubarvka was cup-tied because he featured twice in the cup for Manchester United during his loan spell with them earlier in the season, prior to returning to Newcastle last month. Karl Darlow, who has frequently played for Newcastle in the past, was also unavailable as he is currently on loan at Championship side Hull City and so and it was Lloris Karuis who was the man on the team sheet at Wembley, chosen ahead of Mark Gillespie.
All eyes were certainly on the German keeper, five years after he famously made two crucial mistakes in the 2018 Champions League final when playing for Liverpool against Real Madrid.
From a goalkeeping perspective, Karius had some great moments in such a high-profile game and he can hold his head up high.
Although some argue he should have done slightly better with Rashford’s deflected shot, he made two big saves and having Nick Pope would not have made too much of a difference as Newcastle’s problems were undoubtedly up front as their lack of quality in the final third was exposed.
Newcastle got into good positions, but they lacked the cutting edge in the box to bury the ball in the back of the net and this is where the two teams were fractionally set apart.
The win at Wembley means that Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has wasted no time in guiding the club to silverware only 10 months after joining. It also ended their longest trophy drought in over 40 years, with the fans having to go back to the 2017 season, when the side under Jose Mourinho won the League Cup as well as the Europa League, to get their hands on silverware.
Manchester United are also still in all of the remaining competitions as they are in the FA Cup draw as well as the Europa League, two more targets for Ten Hag’s men to pick up some silverware. The fixture list for United is packed but the depth in their squad is clear to see and was another clear difference when comparing the benches of the two sides in the cup final.
Eddie Howe’s men were unable to end their long running trophy drought that spans more than 50 years with the Magpies having to go back to 1969 to when they last won silverware as they won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, now known as the Europa League.
Although they were not victorious, thousands of Geordies made the trip down to London for the weekend, creating a sea of black and white, congregating at Trafalgar Square.
Tourists were coming up to Newcastle fans and congratulating them on, what they thought must have been a victory the day before the final because that was the only way they could make sense of the joyous scenes of thousands of Geordies at Trafalgar Square.
The Newcastle fans, yet again, have to return to the North East with no trophy in what was another defeat in the capital. Newcastle have now lost each of their last nine matches at Wembley, a run that began in the 1974 FA Cup final, extending what is the longest ever losing run by a club side at the venue.
However for the Geordies, what a weekend it was! Although they did not get what they ultimately were so desperate for, the team did them proud and put in a performance that just showed how far they have come in such a short amount of time. This time last year Newcastle were just 4 points away from the relegation zone and yet, contrastingly, this season they are currently pushing for a Champions League with the team currently in 5th position with two games in hand over Spurs who are sitting in 4th.
I am sure this is the first of many trips to Wembley and Trafalgar Square that the Geordies will be taking in the coming years.
The Newcastle fans were absolutely brilliant and their display at Wembley was simply jaw dropping. The support and buzz around the club is as high as ever and the eager anticipation for success is clearly seen.
This hunger and excitement for success is displayed, as Wembley has never had so many fans in the stadium just thirty minutes after the gates opened.
The Newcastle end was full before half of the Manchester United fans were there with the Geordies desperate to create and enjoy the atmosphere of being in a final.
Now the fans will be encouraging the team to focus back on the League where a Champions League space could be the reward for finishing the season with a good run of form. Then the Geordies could take over Europe, not just the capital.
For Manchester United, six years since they have picked up some silverware is a long time for their fans and you could see how much it meant to the team and its supporters.
After a fantastic run of games, they will be hoping to continue this impressive spell to further add to their trophy cabinet with possibly another trip to Wembley in the FA Cup.
Winning the Europa League is the key target for Ten Hag’s squad this year and this would be hugely impressive in his first season in charge of the Red Devils who are hungry for more success.