Today will not only mark the most important team selection of Erik ten Hag’s tenure at Manchester United, but one of the most vital in the last six years.
It has been half a dozen years since the Red Devils last tasted silverware, a fact that is rather remarkable when you consider their illustrious history.
That said, it is a sign of just how far they have fallen from their perch with a number of managers failing to repeat the dizzy heights that Sir Alex Ferguson took them to.
Yet, under their new Dutch head coach, normality is beginning to be restored. United are emerging from their shadow and are looking like a force to be reckoned with again.
That said, a final against Newcastle, a team who are awaiting their first trophy since 1955, won’t be an easy test.
United could take a giant leap towards a Wembley triumph, though, by unleashing Diogo Dalot.
Should Dalot start in the Carabao Cup final?
It is unlikely that such a game will be decided by a player of Dalot’s ilk but he could be imperative when the two sides kick off this afternoon.
There are a number of areas Ten Hag will have to get right with Wout Weghorst’s goalless run of form firmly in his mind and Jadon Sancho’s emergence as a genuine number 10 also to factor in.
Yet at right-back, the Netherlands native has both Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to choose from.
Both offer their own strengths and weaknesses, with the former having started the win over Leicester last weekend before the latter started in midweek against Barcelona.
Who would you start at RB today?
Dalot was undoubtedly given a rough first-half which saw a gilt-edged chance in from of goal go begging while he was given a stern telling off by his manager too.
Perhaps being dropped for the Europa League tie with Barca was the punishment but he should certainly start on Sunday afternoon.
After all, this is a player who offers a great deal more in attack than Wan-Bissaka.
The former Crystal Palace man does appear to be improving in that regard, however, having supplied four assists in 2020/21 from his earlier days at the club when he was known as a more defensive option.
Dalot, on the other hand, has two assists and one goal with half of the season still to go this, while his 1.4 key passes and 0.9 dribbles per game in the Premier League throughout 2022/23 are better than his positional colleague.
Indeed, he has made just 0.7 and 0.6 in those particular columns in the league this campaign.
All of that indicates that more goal-scoring opportunities could be created down the right-hand side this afternoon and if Antony plays just ahead of him, it opens up the opportunity for a dangerous overlap.
Dubbed a “monster” by statisticians Squawka, it is Dalot who could represent the bigger threat to the in-form Marcus Rashford.
Not that the England international needs much additional assistance right now, but the thought of Dalot’s teasing deliveries should have Rashford salivating from the mouth.
The forward, who has a remarkable 24 goals this term, will be vital if United are to take home the trophy this evening and his hopes of doing just that will be boosted by offensive full-backs being in operation.
As such, the £25k-per-week Dalot simply has to be unleashed on Eddie Howe’s men.