‘I’d be shocked if Newcastle won without Nick Pope in goal’: Paul Merson believes the goalkeeper’s absence will be costly and means Man United are favourites to win the Carabao Cup in Sunday’s final
Newcastle United will be without Nick Pope for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday
Paul Merson says Pope’s absence tips the match in Manchester United’s favour
Both sides will be keen to claim silverware to usher in a new era for their clubs
Nick Pope’s absence will cost Newcastle in their Carabao Cup final showdown with Manchester United, according to Paul Merson.
Eddie Howe’s Magpies face the Red Devils at Wembley on Sunday aiming to win their first trophy for 54 years, in a game both sides will be eager to win amid impressive seasons.
However, Newcastle will have to navigate the final without first-choice goalkeeper Pope after he was sent off during their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend for handling the ball outside the box.
Merson told Sportskeeda that he felt the Tyneside club will miss his expertise in goal, with fourth-choice shot-stopper Loris Karius instead set to get the nod given Martin Dubravka is cup tied following his recent loan spell at United.
The Arsenal legend said: ‘If there was one player Eddie Howe couldn’t afford to miss in this final, it would be Nick Pope. He has won them so many points this season.
Nick Pope cannot play in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final after his red card against Liverpool
Paul Merson believes Pope’s absence will ‘cost Newcastle dearly’ against Manchester United
‘I’d be shocked if Newcastle won this one without Pope in goal. He is that big for Newcastle United. Unfortunately, he is suspended and that’s going to cost Newcastle dearly.
‘When they’re keeping clean sheets, Pope is making big saves. Off the top of my head, in the draw against Arsenal, he made a world-class save to deny Eddie Nketiah.’
Newcastle’s usual back-up goalkeeper Dubravka is cup-tied having played for the Red Devils earlier in the campaign, and he could win a medal if his former club offer one.
It means Karius is set to make his club debut in the League Cup final – and Merson believes United will score goals from the chances they create at Wembley.
The 54-year-old pundit has backed Marcus Rashford to score – although his involvement is doubtful after he came off injured in Thursday’s Europa League win over Barcelona.
Merson added: ‘United are the team to beat in the final. Newcastle United are not a free-scoring side. They don’t blow teams away.’
Newcastle’s fourth choice shot-stopper Loris Karius is set to play at Wembley on Sunday
Merson tipped Marcus Rashford to score – but he could miss out on the final through injury
He backed Newcastle to score, but Erik ten Hag’s side to run out 2-1 winners on Sunday evening.
Manchester United’s manager has urged his players to ignore Newcastle’s habit of time-wasting during the final, calling it ‘annoying’.
Meanwhile, it is Newcastle’s first cup final in 24 years, although Howe’s side come into it in a poor run of form, having not won since beating Southampton 2-1 in the semi-final second leg at the end of January.
So far in February, they have drawn 1-1 against West Ham and Bournemouth, before last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at St James’ Park.
Source of data and images: dailymail
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‘I’d be shocked if Newcastle won without Nick Pope in goal’: Paul Merson believes the goalkeeper’s absence will be costly and means Man United are favourites to win the Carabao Cup in Sunday’s final Newcastle United will be without Nick Pope for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday Paul Merson says Pope’s absence tips the …
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