Man Utd ended a six-year trophy drought after running out 2-0 winners against Newcastle to lift their sixth League Cup and first trophy under Erik ten Hag’s leadership.
Erik ten Hag is the first ever Dutch manager in the competition’s history to win the League Cup.
And he’s done it in his first season in English football, bringing an end to Manchester United’s worst trophy drought in 40 years. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DxaJ0mcO3K
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 26, 2023
Newcastle, playing in a first major domestic final since 1999 and last tasting silverware thirty years before that, were undone in a six-minute period when Casemiro and Sven Botman inadvertently decided this contest.
The Magpies will look to dust themselves down as Champions League football next season remains a possibility while Man Utd can add further glory as they still remain active in the Europa League and FA Cup.
Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:
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David de Gea – 5 – Hardly called into serious action. De Gea was only forced into making one save. Given his current goalkeeping form, if the Spaniard was kept busy, chances are he’d shine.
Diogo Dalot – 4 – Booked early on following a clumsy attempt to impede Allan Saint-Maximin after the speedy forward was on course to start a promising Newcastle counter-attack. Taken off at the break.
Raphael Varane – 6.5 – A comfortable outing for the elegant French centre-back who looked nothing short of imperious particularly in the air.
Lisandro Martinez's game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
5 ball recoveries
3 duels won
0x dribbled past
Forming a brilliant partnership with Raphael Varane. 💪 pic.twitter.com/jOpBSDbs8e
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 26, 2023
Lisandro Martinez – 7 – Clashed heads with Fabian Schar after the Swiss defender stayed up to nod Trippier’s cross over the crossbar. That incident never fazed the World Cup winner as he was his usual warrior self throughout.
Luke Shaw – 6.5 – It was his inch-perfect delivery which Casemiro met to head Man Utd in front. The rejuvenated full-back was conservative going forward due to Trippier’s presence on the same flank.
Casemiro – 9 – “He is a man for the big occasion!” came Gary Neville’s immediate response on Sky Sports commentary after the Brazilian midfielder headed Man Utd ahead from a Luke Shaw-guided free-kick. His goal aside the former Real Madrid man was indomitable in midfield, he completed three tackles, more than anyone on the pitch.
“Was he coming to the club for a holiday or the money? Absolutely not. He’s been outstanding,” Man Utd’s former number 2 added.
Fred – 6 – His yellow card aside Fred displayed the energy and tenacity which has enabled him to become an Old Trafford cult hero. Playing alongside Casemiro, which he’s already done before with the Brazil national team, has only made him better in a Man Utd jersey.
Antony – 5 – Following his midweek heroics the ex-Ajax winger began today’s final but struggled to get into a rhythm
Casemiro's game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
100% take-ons completed
100% aerial duels won
8 duels won
6 ball recoveries
3 accurate long balls
1 chance created
Look what that goal meant to him. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/vrglb5cifN
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 26, 2023
Bruno Fernandes – 5.5 – In the absence of Christian Eriksen playmaking duties have fallen to Fernandes and to be fair he’s risen to the occasion. He was somewhat subdued today and seldom created anything of note. Man Utd’s skipper for the day, though, did a solid defensive job.
Marcus Rashford – 8 – The man Newcastle surely feared coming into this game. Rashford is doing everything in his power to be considered among Europe’s truly elite footballers. If he isn’t already. Helped double the Red Devils‘ lead before half-time, though it would be credited as a Sven Botman own goal, and was a constant menace on Man Utd’s left flank.
Wout Weghorst – 6.5 – Had the game’s first genuine chance but his effort was tame and Karius gobbled it up. “His finishing is an issue. Top centre forwards would fancy that from there,” Neville opined. Weghorst, whose role isn’t defined by scoring, made amends somewhat by playing a key role in the build-up to Man Utd’s second goal.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (for Dalot 46) – 8 – He did a much better job taking care of Saint-Maximin as the Frenchman struggled to pin Wan-Bissaka down as Man Utd’s right-back demonstrated his excellence when it comes to defending one-on-one. He would complete seven tackles, most by anyone, in 45 minutes of play.
Marcel Sabitzer (for Fred 70) – 6 – Unlucky not to start, but with the on-loan Bayern midfielder having never played with Casemiro before you can understand Ten Hag’s line of thinking. Sabitzer would pull off two shots on goal in his short time on the pitch.
Scott McTominay (for Weghorst 70) – 6 – Brought on to see Man Utd through which he did.
Jadon Sancho (for Antony 83) – N/A – A late sub.
Harry Maguire (for Rashford 88) – N/A – A late sub.
Loris Karius – 5 – Understandably there were early nerves, given the German shot-stopper hadn’t played in a while and his last finals appearance went badly, Karius’ confidence grew with every save and catch. He was helpless for both of Man Utd’s goals but this performance wasn’t as bad as many could have imagined.
Kieran Tripper – 6.5 – Newcastle’s best playmaker began with purpose, regularly getting to Man Utd’s byline, though his end product was less than stellar. Never letting his head go down, the England full-back ended up with the most number of chances created.
Sven Botman – 4 – Unlucky as Rashford’s scuffed shot deflected off him and looped agonisingly over Karius and into the net. He looked the most likely to make something happen for Newcastle.
Loris Karius' last two starts for English sides:
◎ 26th May 2018 – The Champions League final
◉ 26th Feb 2023 – The League Cup final
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) February 26, 2023
Fabian Schar – 5 – Saw a headed effort balloon over De Gea’s crossbar, Schar in the process collided with Martinez and both stayed down to receive treatment.
Dan Burn – 4 – Came really close to halving the deficit before half-time, but the languid centre-back was unable to steady himself and guide his effort on goal.
Sean Longstaff – 3 – Anonymous in the opening 45 minutes and was subsequently hauled off at half-time.
Bruno Guimaraes – 4 – Had an early scare when he went down with a suspected injury only to shake it off and continue. Played erratically, this lack of composure didn’t help in an enviable midfield battle against Casemiro and Fred, both of whom got the better of their compatriot.
Joelinton – 3.5 – Shown a yellow after letting his emotions get the better of him on the stroke of half-time. First, the Newcastle midfielder flew into a challenge and booted the ball at Antony, before taking his frustration out on Casemiro, dragging the Man Utd man down.
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Miguel Almiron – 4.5 – He started this game livelily, running towards Man Utd’s goal at every opportunity, but those moments soon dried up as Erik ten Hag’s man got a grip on this final.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 7 – Scintillating whenever afforded space in front and was really close to pulling off something special. Saint-Maximin had Dalot’s number but unfortunately for him there was no reward for a credible final performance. His evening went from bad to worse after receiving a yellow for petulant behaviour.
Callum Wilson – 5 – Careless in possession and was often isolated while leading Newcastle’s attack.
Alexander Isak (for Longstaff 46) – 5 – Brought on with Newcastle chasing but Man Utd’s resolve limited the Swedish marksman.
Jacob Murphy (for Saint-Maximin 78) – N/A – A late sub.
Joe Willock (for Guimaraes 79) – N/A – A late sub.