Kagawa drives United to victory with emphatic display
Manchester United managed to secure a comfortable win thanks to a hat trick by Shinji Kagawa which helped open up a 15 point lead at the top of the table. The league leaders go into their game against Real Madrid in positive form after drubbing Norwich by four goals. The scoreline flattered the home team as they didn’t even need to get out of second gear. A win and three points are important though as Manchester United begin a key week in their race for the treble.
Manchester United started the half brightly but failed to threaten the opposition goal. Mark Bunn’s dive at the feet of Robin Van Persie and a Michael Carrick shot was all that the Red Devils were able to manufacture. The Norwich defence was successfully keeping the 19-time league champions at bay with Sébastian Bassong and Bradley Johnson leading the back four. Shinji Kagawa though managed to spoil the party in first half additional time. Antonio Valencia floated a rare left footed cross into the box. The cross found its way to RVP whose stretching foot brought the ball down for the Japanese playmaker. Kagawa then surprised the Norwich goalkeeper with a shot from the outside of his boot that managed to creep in at the near post.
The second half began with United enjoying possession and the Canaries did not manage to create much. There was one moment in the game though where Norwich could have scored, but Russell Martin failed to take advantage. Grant Holt rose above Evra to lay it off for the full back but not only was the shot way off target, Holt was adjudged to have fouled Evra.
With one eye on the big Champions League clash in mid-week, Sir Alex decided to take Van Persie off after the 60 minute mark and replaced him with Danny Welbeck. Manchester United then went on to score 3 goals in the last 15 minutes to seal the game. Two of the three goals were scored by Kagawa to hit his first hat trick for Manchester United. It was the first time an Asian player had managed to score a hat trick in the Premier League. His second came after 76 minutes after Wayne Rooney chased a ball by Michael Carrick and Kagawa was there to tap in Rooney’s cut back. He then fooled the keeper with a delightful chip three minutes from time to claim the match ball. Rooney then managed to get his only goal of the game and United’s fourth with a fantastic shot in the dying moments of the game.
Sir Alex will hope his players can improve on today’s performance and it will be interesting to see who manages to hold on to their place in the squad and who find themselves on the bench. Kagawa’s performance, may have given the manager something to think about, as all eyes now turn to Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Final score: Man United (Kagawa (3), Rooney (1)) 4-0 Norwich