65 min: Manchester United respond with a triple change, switching out Hannibal, Martial and Garnacho for Fernandes, Rashford and Hojlund.
64 min: Newcastle make a double change, replacing Gordon and Willock, who have both been excellent, with Guimaraes and Wilson.
63 min: Manchester United had all but penned Newcastle back in their final third for the opening quarter-hour of the second half. But now look. Erik ten Hag sits in the dugout, all blood drained from his face … and as that drains, quite a few fans pour out of the stadium. The away fans once again question Ten Hag’s ongoing employment status via the medium of satirical song.
… but unfortunately, Manchester United have no room for error. Amrabat hesitates in the centre circle. Joelinton sticks out a leg to snaffle possession. Willock tears down the inside-left channel, drifts into the centre, and slots a glorious sidefoot into the bottom-right corner. Onana at full stretch, but with no chance.
59 min: Manchester United have enjoyed 79 percent of possession since the restart. Garnacho crosses deep from the left. Martial can’t get a head to the ball at the far stick. Goal kick. Compared to the shambles of the first half, this registers CHALK on the Guardian’s patented cheese-o-meter™.
58 min: … Joelinton heads Reguilon’s delivery clear with ease.
57 min: Garnacho dribbles hard down the left and wins a corner off Livramento. From which …
56 min: Antony one-twos with Martial down the right, spinning off along his ribbon in the sky. He cuts infield, it’s a lovely run … then he blooters a wild shot miles over the bar, and a good way left of the target too. He has the good grace to chide himself in irritation. Shame, because he’d put in some graceful work to get there.
54 min: Manchester United are definitely playing in the post-hairdryer style. A clear injection of spirit. Garnacho and Mount combine down the left. The ball breaks to Amrabat, who attempts to guide a curler into the top right. Always wide, always high.
52 min: A poor Maguire clearing header falls to Willock, who takes a heavy touch while running onto the ball at full pace. Maguire is fortunate that Lindelof, who is now wearing his old captain’s armband after Casemiro’s withdrawal, is on point to cover.
50 min: Hannibal dribbles in from the right and draws a foul. He springs up and encourages the crowd to make some noise. He’s up for this, to be fair. The home fans respond. Bedlam … but it subsides a little as Mount wastes the free kick by hoicking it over everyone’s head.
48 min: Antony zips along the right touchline in exciting style. Like he’s on a tightrope, baby, nine miles high. He feeds Wan-Bissaka, who in turn finds Martial on the right-hand corner of the six-yard box. Martial can’t poke home, but earns a corner, though it comes to nought. Still, so much better from the home side.
46 min: Willock is booked for a pointless climb on Amrabat’s back. The sub was going absolutely nowhere in his own half.
Newcastle United get the second half underway. Manchester United have made a couple of changes, replacing Dalot and Casemiro with Wan-Bissaka and Amrabat. A slight – no, big – surprise that Hannibal hasn’t been hooked, seeing he really should have been yellow carded twice in the first half.
Half-time postbag. “What must Manchester United fans think watching the performances of Casemiro and Almiron? And Casemiro is their captain” – Gary Naylor
“Emil Krafth as Franz Beckenbauer reincarnate, Lewis Hall’s Van Basten volley, Sacked In The Morning chants, Adidas re-issuing classic NUFC kits in at a 300% mark-up … tell me I’m dreaming, mate” – Chris Paraskevas
“Your closing exactly describes my MO when I order beer at a restaurant. I live in the Sacramento region of California so we are abundantly blessed with millions of IPA varieties. Prost!” – Peter Oh
“Squire (pardon the pun), fully agree that Tightrope is a superior song to This is the One. I’d also argue that Second Coming is a superior album to their debut effort. Also, hoping that Martial can break into a jog at some point this evening” – Matthew Lysaght
The hosts are booed off. The scoreline doesn’t flatter Newcastle at all. If anything, it’s easy on Manchester United. Erik ten Hag walks off wearing the mother, father and extended family of all frowns. Big half-time team-talk … big half-time shake-up … coming soon.
45 min +4: Gordon scampers down that left flank. For a second Manchester United look in a world of trouble – again – but Gordon’s pass towards the overlapping Longstaff is behind his man. Newcastle turn tail and play some possession football, which their fans accompany with a few olés.
45 min +3: Reguilon drives down the left but there’s nobody moving into space for him. Manchester United come again down the same flank, and Mount sends a rasping drive towards the top right. Dubravka is equal to it, and turns it around the post. Nothing comes of the corner.
45 min +1: Dalot sends a low speculative diagonal drive wide left of the Newcastle goal. Dubravka had it covered.
45 min: There will be five additional first-half minutes. There’s Manchester United desperate to hear the whistle and regroup, as well.
43 min: Almiron crosses low from the left. Maguire hacks clear. Dalot is all over the shop, though to be fair he’s not exactly getting much help from his team-mates.
41 min: Newcastle are enjoying the run of Old Trafford down their left flank. Almiron and Willock again pour down the wing, the latter cutting inside and looking for the bottom right from distance. Onana is behind it all the way.
39 min: Antony wins a corner down the right. It’s worked back to Dalot, who shovels an aimless pass out of play down the left. Goal kick, and so far this has been an embarrassment for Erik ten Hag, who is getting serenaded by the 9,000 away fans, all of whom have strident opinions on his future employment prospects.
38 min: That was another wonderful goal from an attacking sense, but it was another fiasco from a Manchester United perspective. The move started when a free kick had been awarded to Newcastle in the centre circle. Four players in red dozed as Longstaff ran in to take it quickly, sending Almiron off down the left. He found Willock, and the rest is history.
Willock enters the Manchester United box down the left. He twists Dalot’s blood and reaches the byline. His looped cross is headed to the edge of the box by Maguire, but only to Hall, who steers a glorious volley across Onana and into the bottom right-hand corner. What a finish!
35 min: Antony dribbles down the inside-right channel and lays off to Hannibal, who can’t control but is able to slide and hook the ball into the path of Reguilon, who creams a shot over the bar from the edge of the D.
34 min: There are huge gaps in the Manchester United midfield. Newcastle look capable of romping through them at will. “The commentator says Ten Hag looks puzzled standing on the sideline,” begins Jeff Sax. “He still can’t believe he is coaching Man U.”
32 min: … and so is this, as Dalot barrels down the right and crosses deep. Mount handles accidentally at the far stick and the whistle goes. But that’s a good response to falling behind by Manchester United, and from Garnacho, Mount and Dalot as well, the three players who didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory for the goal.
30 min: Manchester United try to respond immediately, Garnacho making good down the left and whipping towards Mount at the near post. Mount fires wide left. That’s at least better from the hosts.
Garnacho attacks down the left only to be easily stripped of possession by Livramento, who embarks on a Homeric run upfield, into the centre circle, unchallenged by Mount, and towards the United box. He slips Almiron in on the left, Dalot dozing. Almiron enters the box, draws Onana, and guides a shot into the right-hand side of the net. A great goal from Newcastle’s perspective, and a terrible one from Manchester United’s.
27 min: Erik ten Hag comes to the touchline and stares at the play with furrowed brow. No wonder: Newcastle are first to everything in the middle of the park. “If there is an institution that is as similarly distant from its once-proud identity as Manchester United, it’s Newcastle Brown Ale. If I understand correctly, it’s no longer brewed in Newcastle. The North American version is made in California – but using a different recipe. It’s an internationally recognized brand, but it’s just not as good as it used to be.” Peter Oh, ladies and gentlemen. He’s here all week. Try the local IPA instead.
26 min: The Newcastle fans are still giving it plenty. The home faithful, not so much, as their team continue to splutter and putter. A little bit of anxiety in the air. “I’d support your suggestion to return to the Sharp and Brown Ale uniforms,” begins 90s revivalist Jake Shaffer, “but only if Howe wears a hideous purple and white track suit top while EtH dons a cavernous club/sponsor emblazoned full length coat.”
24 min: Manchester United are struggling to get going. Antony dribbles down a cul-de-sac on the right flank and clanks into Hall. Free kick. Hannibal then throws the ball away in disgust. He’s really testing the referee’s patience.
22 min: Ritchie has a whack from distance. Wide and high. After a slow start, Newcastle are beginning to get on top here. They’ve enjoyed 61 percent of possession in the last ten minutes.
20 min: Nothing comes of the free kick. On Sky, Gary Neville notes that nobody more senior than Hannibal has gone over to the young player to calm him down.
19 min: Willock drives hard down the middle and is brought crashing to the floor by Casemiro, who goes into the book. A free kick 30 yards out in a central position. More importantly, that’s two of Manchester United’s midfield trio already tottering along the disciplinary tightrope (a much better song than Old Trafford favourite This Is The One, incidentally).
17 min: Hannibal comes clattering into Krafth from behind and wants to watch himself here. That could easily have been a second yellow. “Another injury!” yelps Slassor. “Can we not just bring everyone off, forfeit the match and come home?”
16 min: … and now Casemiro shoves Willock to the ground, just to the left of centre, 25 yards out. Ritchie curls in, and Lindelof, surrounded by black and white stripes, is forced to concede a corner. Joelinton attempts to leap higher than Maguire but doesn’t manage it. Manchester United clear their lines.
14 min: Longstaff is in the process of heading the ball in the centre circle when he’s barged in mid-air by Hannibal. A pointless challenge, and one that earns the young Manchester United midfielder a yellow card. He’ll miss the next round if United get through.
13 min: The first shot in anger. Martial robs Krafth down the left and finds Garnacho, who cuts back for Casemiro. Ping! The drive from edge of the box is an easy snaffle for Dubravka … who played for Manchester United in this competition a couple of times last season.
12 min: Manchester United are pinging it around nicely. Newcastle are struggling to keep hold of the ball whenever they get hold of it. Both sets of fans making plenty of evening-pints-fuelled noise.
10 min: Casemiro finds Antony down the right with a glorious long diagonal ball, but Hall makes sure there’s no route to the penalty box. A fine pass by Manchester United’s stand-in captain, though.
9 min: A reminder that this game will go straight to penalties if it ends 0-0 after 90 minutes. No extra time. There’s no VAR either, so given that everyone wants it gone, no doubt someone tonight will end up missing it. You know how these things usually pan out.
7 min: Joelinton sticks out an arm to tug back Reguilon and should really get booked, but nobody knows anything any more, so he doesn’t.
6 min: Mount spins elegantly in the centre circle to start a Manchester United attack. It breaks down quickly enough, but that earned the midfielder a roar of encouragement.
5 min: Poor Targett makes his way gingerly towards the tunnel, shaking his head slowly. Such a shame … and there’s to be no hard-earned rest for Almiron, not tonight.
4 min: Martial was near Targett but didn’t touch him. Targett gets up and traipses off sadly. A chance to impress gone in 90 seconds. Almiron will come on in his place.
2 min: Newcastle, on the front foot and with 9,000 travelling fans making the most noise right now, press the hosts hard. Targett stretches for a loose ball in midfield and falls to the ground, clutching his hamstring. He hammers the ground in frustration while prone. This doesn’t look promising at all.
Manchester United get the ball rolling. Newcastle are kicking towards the Stretford End in this first half.
The teams are out! Manchester United wear their famous red; Newcastle run out in their iconic black and white stripes. The only way to improve this classic aesthetic? Get Sharp Electronics and Newcastle Brown Ale back as sponsors. Well, you could ditch the sponsors altogether of course, but there’s no point asking to lasso the moon. The words “Football Club” back on the Manchester United badge? I’m even boring myself now. Never mind! We’ll be off in a couple of minutes.
Eddie Howe has a chat with Sky. “We’ve had two really tough draws in this competition and we look forward to the challenge … we have to be ourselves and focus on us … we’ve made changes to our team and utilised our squad … I’m hopeful we’ll give a really good account of ourselves … I believe in the players we’ve picked … it’s a really tough game tonight … we need to be at our best, that’s for sure … it’s an opportunity for players who have been desperate to play to show how good they are … it’s an opportunity to protect one or two players in our demanding schedule … it’s a mixture of those things really.”
Erik ten Hag talks to Sky. “We always line up a team that is strong enough … we have a good squad … we can choose … these players deserve to play … you cannot feel sorry for yourself … top football is tough, hard, you have to deal with it … you moan for 24 hours then it’s another challenge … take it … you can’t change it any more but you can change the future … the fans deserve [a good performance] … they are always behind us … we have to match high standards … we know what to do and are very eager to give a good performance and get into the next round … we have a strong bench … we are not playing with 11 … we have a squad.”
Harry Maguire speaks to Sky Sports. “Obviously Sunday was really disappointing, a bad performance, a bad result … there’s no better chance to put it right than in front of our fans at Old Trafford … every round is a chance to progress … we’re here to defend [the cup] again … we’re looking forward to it … you lose a derby, it’s disappointing, the lads aren’t happy … we know we need to improve … we’ve moved on and know we have to put things right tonight.”
Manchester United make seven changes to the team sent out for the 3-0 defeat to City. Mason Mount, Anthony Martial, Casemiro, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, Sergio Reguilon and Hannibal Mejbri take the places of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Christian Eriksen, Jonny Evans, Sofyan Amrabat, Scott McTominay and Rasmus Hojlund, all of whom drop to the bench. Only Andre Onana, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot keep their places.
Newcastle go one better with eight changes from the XI that started the 2-2 draw at Wolves. Martin Dubravka, Valentino Livramento, Emil Krafth, Paul Dummett, Matt Targett, Lewis Hall, Joe Willock and Matt Ritchie step up; Kieran Trippier, Jamaal Lascelles, Dan Burn, Bruno Guimaraes, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron drop to the bench, while Nick Pope and Fabian Schar miss out altogether. Only Joelinton, Anthony Gordon and captain-for-the-day Sean Longstaff keep their spots.
Manchester United: Onana, Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Reguilon, Mejbri, Casemiro, Antony, Mount, Garnacho, Martial.
Subs: Bayindir, Amrabat, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund, Eriksen, Wan-Bissaka, Evans, McTominay.
Newcastle United: Dubravka, Dummett, Targett, Krafth, Livramento, Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton, Hall, Ritchie, Gordon.
Subs: Trippier, Lascelles, Wilson, Karius, Almiron, Burn, Bruno Guimaraes, Diallo, Parkinson.
Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside).
Manchester United were abject in the derby on Sunday. They didn’t get particularly good notices for their performances against Brentford, Sheffield United and Copenhagen either, and they won all of those matches, which only goes to illustrate the scale of the pickle Erik ten Hag and his men find themselves in right now. The club have made their worst start to a season since the days of Big Ron Atkinson, who ended up getting the boot in late 1986 after a loss in … the League Cup.
Which is not to say Ten Hag will receive his marching orders should he lose this tie tonight. Absolutely not. He did win this competition last season, for a start, so there’s plenty of credit in the bank. But with the fanbase restless for many a reason, he could nonetheless do with a positive result to lighten the mood. He’ll be pleased to see Newcastle United roll into town, then; the Toon have only won once at Old Trafford since 1972, and that was ten years ago. They’ve lost on both of their previous visits in the League Cup, once to the tune of 7-2, Gordon Hill netting a hat-trick in 1976. And of course it was Newcastle who were defeated in last season’s final. Ten Hag could hardly have hand-picked better bounce-back opponents, right?
Newcastle aren’t in the best form themselves, having won just one of their last four matches in all competitions. But when they click, they click: just ask Kylian Mbappé and PSG, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Sheffield United. Oh, and Manchester City, who they knocked out in the last round. Eddie Howe and his team will thus take on their hosts in reasonably high spirits. So it is, then, that Newcastle, who haven’t won a trophy since 1969, go into this tie relatively unencumbered by pressure; Manchester United, who haven’t won a trophy for eight months, threaten to buckle under the weight of the stuff. Funny old game, football. Kick-off is at 8.15pm BST. It’s on!