Manchester United against Newcastle United would have been exactly the sort of third-round draw Capital One’s marketing team would have hoped for following their rebranding of the League Cup, but in truth, this fixture has snuck up without much being said.
Call it what you want, but the League Cup is still not much of a priority for anyone these days and both Sir Alex Ferguson and Alan Pardew are likely to give plenty of the stiffs a run out at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Recent United recruits Nick Powell, Alexander Buttner and Angelo Henriquez could all be given game time, while Pardew has already taken to sticking scratch sides out in the Europa League.
The Reds welcome Tottenham Hostpur to this part of town on Saturday, with the Toon Army travelling to Reading – so an all-Premier League clash is unlikely to play host to premiere line-ups.
After winning this competition in 2009 and 2010, United have since been humbled by West Ham and then more notably Crystal Palace at Old Trafford last season. Their squad may be the envy of most in the country, but those on the periphery of things have not always covered themselves in glory in the past couple of seasons.
Newcastle, for their part, have never had much joy in the League Cup and are without a win at United in over 40 years, which is probably why they’re a huge 6/1 to win in 90 minutes and 33/10 to progress to the next round.
Bwin’s 3Way football betting market has United at a long enough 21/50 to win inside the distance, which is only slightly shorter than they are to beat Tottenham at the weekend. But in truth, until the actual make-up of each team is fully known, attempting to detect which way this will go feels akin to stabbing in the dark.
Given home advantage and a stronger squad I’d certainly be leaning towards United, but if Pardew resists the temptation to rest many of his main men, then I’d have to have a think about altering that stance. If you want to react to that before the bookies do, the draw or a Newcastle win after 90 minutes is currently 17/10.
Otherwise, I would still fancy United – but where to go from there is a little more unclear. When two sides without much communal playing experience are put together, it can either be fractious and tight or gaffe and goal-laden.
The Toon haven’t had many goals in them of late, scoring just six in their last seven outings, and I can’t see there being a flurry of strikes in this encounter. Both teams to score is 18/25 and over 2.5 goals is 57/100, but I reckon United to win a game with under 3.5 goals is great value at 27/20, especially if you’re adding it to an accumulator.
New customers registering with bwin can claim a free £20 bet and sticking that on Manchester United to beat Newcastle with under 3.5 goals in the game could land you £47 – which is more than I’ve amassed in over ten bets in the £10 to £10k Challenge.
The guess-who team-sheets also make the goalscorer markets intriguing and after only getting a few minutes between them in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck appear decent value at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively to break the deadlock.
Recommended bet: Man Utd to win with under 3.5 goals in the game @ 29/20
Outside punt: Javier Hernandez first scorer @ 4/1
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