Big Weekend: Carabao Cup final, Arsenal v Newcastle, Glasner, Mainoo v Reed | OneFootball

Big Weekend: Carabao Cup final, Arsenal v Newcastle, Glasner, Mainoo v Reed | OneFootball

Icon: Football365


·23 February 2024

Big Weekend: Carabao Cup final, Arsenal v Newcastle, Glasner, Mainoo v Reed

Article image:Big Weekend: Carabao Cup final, Arsenal v Newcastle, Glasner, Mainoo v Reed

The Carabao Cup final and Arsenal v Newcastle highlight a Big Weekend for Harrison Reed and Oliver Glasner.

The Carabao Cup final pits inconsistent Chelsea against a Liverpool squad down to the bare bones. Also in a Big Weekend: Arsenal need to get back in their stride; Oliver Glasner bosses Palace; and two England hopefuls clash at Old Trafford.

OneFootball Videos

Article image:Big Weekend: Carabao Cup final, Arsenal v Newcastle, Glasner, Mainoo v Reed

Game to watch: Carabao Cup final The season’s first domestic trophy is on the line at Wembley on Sunday when Chelsea and Liverpool will stage a repeat of the Carabao Cup final from two years ago.

The period since Chelsea lost that showpiece on penalties has been a tumultuous time for the Blues. They are under new ownership; they have been under numerous new managers; and Sunday represents the chance for the new-ish regime to claim their first silverware as Chelsea custodians, as well as Mauricio Pochettino the opportunity to win his first trophy in English football.

Would victory at Wembley mean all is swell at Stamford Bridge? Of course not. But it would offer some respite and a path back to Europe, even if it is via the Conference League qualification play-offs. Which would bring its own problems owing to UEFA’s stricter FFP rules. But few Chelsea fans walking up Wembley Way will be worrying about the books come Sunday. And those that will might need to rethink their priorities.

Liverpool supporters will be preoccupied with the health of their squad. The Reds – bravely and magnificently, according to some – overcame Luton, with a squad that cost less than Virgil van Dijk, to maintain their advantage at the top of the Premier League. That is the prize every Liverpool follower wants for Jurgen Klopp at the end of his farewell tour, but a fourth domestic trophy would hardly be scoffed at.

Klopp has tried to heap the pressure on Chelsea by suggesting Liverpool are not heavy favourites. Which, of course, is horsesh*t. But you might fancy them rather more than you did prior to the shoeing Liverpool gave them at Anfield just over three weeks ago.

Team to watch: Arsenal After a rip-roaring few weeks for Arsenal since their winter break in Dubai, their passive performance in Porto on Wednesday came as something of a surprise. The Gunners must ensure it was a mere blip when Newcastle go to the Emirates on Saturday night.

It already promised to be a tasty affair in the wake of their meeting earlier in the season that so riled Mikel Arteta and his club that neither party could keep their frustration under control. Arteta and Arsenal, whatever their grievances, made themselves look rattled and paranoid on Bonfire weekend. Now, having hauled themselves back into the title race, control and composure is what the Gunners must crave.

But perhaps that was part of the problem in Portugal. Back in the Champions League knockout stage for the first time in seven years, Arsenal stood off and opted to stay in the tie rather than risk the cost of going to win it. It resulted in a performance that yielded no shots on target in a Champions League game for the first time in 11 years and a stodginess unlike the Arsenal of 2024.

Against a Newcastle side who will have noted Porto’s success, Arsenal have to rediscover the flow that has got them back into a three-horse Premier League race.

Manager to watch: Oliver Glasner The Glasner era begins at Selhurst Park on Saturday when Palace have the opportunity to give themselves some respite from the prospect of a relegation battle.

Burnley, off the bottom by virtue of goal difference, are the visitors for Glasner’s first game in charge since taking over from Roy Hodgson this week. The German coach was at Everton on Monday to watch his new team in transition between managers and he witnessed an improved performance, even if the Eagles were let down by old failings in a 1-1 draw.

The concession of a late goal from a set-piece will have irked Glasner, even if Palace fans have become used to such flaws. But a draw was a tolerable result in the circumstances against a side that the Eagles will fear as a threat.

If Everton away was must-not-lose, Burnley at home is rather more must-win for Glasner to kickstart some momentum of the positive kind, as well as to allow Palace to look up the table rather than over their shoulders.

Player to watch: Harrison Reed It was little surprise this week to learn that Kalvin Phillips’ England place is under threat. So it should be. The midfielder has had an absolute shocker since leaving the Manchester City bench for West Ham. Four games: one goal given away; two heavy defeats; and a red card that rules him out of the clash with Brentford on Monday.

Should Gareth Southgate axe Phillips, the England boss is said to be eyeing three possible replacements, two of whom could line up against each other at Old Trafford on Saturday.

One is Kobbie Mainoo. The 18-year-old is guaranteed to start because, these days, he is perhaps behind only Bruno Fernandes in Erik ten Hag’s haste to scribble out his team-sheet. Mainoo is the one player who can keep his head when, inevitably, everyone else at United loses theirs.

The other rather more eyebrow-raising name is Reed. Surprising because he has started only one of the last 11 Premier League games for Fulham. But Reed is set to come in against United because the Cottagers cannot call upon the suspended Joao Palhinha, offering the 29-year-old the chance to show the rest of us what Southgate has apparently spotted.

EFL game to watch: Leeds v Leicester The Championship not long ago seemed to be sewn up. But if Leicester lose at Leeds on Friday night, we might just have a title race on our hands.

The top two meet at Elland Road where the hosts can keep chipping away at the Foxes’ lead and reduce it to six points. Come Saturday night, Leicester might only be eight points clear of fourth.

That’s hardly enough to prompt panic at the King Power, but bottoms are squeakier in Leicester than they might have been. And Leeds, on the back of eight successive victories, have the best home record in the Championship. Daniel Farke’s focus has been on being the best of the rest, and there it will remain, but beating Leicester could give United another target of hunting down the Foxes.

After the top two slug it out, Southampton and Ipswich both host opposition under different management, with Town welcoming a Birmingham being bossed by Mark Venus in Tony Mowbray’s absence, while Saints entertain Millwall back under the control of Neil Harris.

European game to watch: Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig Bayern have featured in this section a lot lately but it’s hard to cast your gaze beyond Bavaria at the moment.

The Bundesliga champions for the last 11 seasons have lost their last three games, leaving them playing catch-up in the Champions League but, more concerningly, eight points off the domestic pace being set by Bayer Leverkusen.

Their circumstances have prompted the decision to part with Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season, but the coach might be lucky to last that long. Should they fail to beat RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena on Saturday night, making it their worst run in 32 years while falling further behind Leverkusen, who host Mainz on Friday, does Tuchel make it to next week?

Leipzig have already humbled Bayern in their own backyard this season, winning in the German Super Cup on Harry Kane’s big opening night. Indeed, Leipzig haven’t lost any of their last four competitive meetings with Bayern.

View publisher imprint