Norwich City vs Manchester United – Pre-Match Analysis
Manchester United travel to Carrow Road this weekend to face a resurgent Norwich City. Wayne Rooney and defender Johnny Evans will not be featuring in this clash due to injuries. United secured a win in Carrow Road in the same fixture last season, thanks to Ryan Giggs who scored an injury time goal in his 900th Premier league game for the Red Devils. The Canaries have shrugged off a slow start this season and are in good form as they are unbeaten in the last four games, which included the 1-0 win against Arsenal. League leaders Manchester United have won 5 games on the trot in the Premier League and are two points clear of Champions Manchester City.
Grant Holt will be leading the Norwich attack and Wes Hoolahan playing just behind him. Pilkington and Snodgrass will start in the wings as the experienced Sebastian Bassong will be in the heart of the defense. The Cameron international believes that Norwich will be able to contain the United attack.
“It will be really hard to stop Manchester United, but I think we can do it,” Bassong said. “Van Persie is a good player, he finished as top scorer last year and is in good form now. He has great touch, great quality on the ball. He has scored against my teams before.” he said.
Keeper John Ruddy has conceded 1.64 goals per game this season and will look to keep out the dangerous Hernandez at bay. Houghton will be without striker Harry Kane who is out with a metatarsal injury. Defender Rusell Martin’s absence would mean Micheal Turner will partner Bassong in defense.
Formation and Tactics
Chris Houghton is expected to field a 4-2-3-1 formation against Manchester United as Norwich look to capitalize on the weak United defense. Holt, with his clever movement and ability to find space behind the defense will be the focal point of the Norwich attack. Pilkington and Snodgrass have the ability to keep the United defense on their toes with their speed and accuracy in crosses. Wes Hoolahan will be key player for Norwich City. The playmaker has good ball distribution and can turn defense to attack in no time.
United will be missing their talisman Wayne Rooney, who took a knock to the ankle in the game against Aston Villa last weekend as a result of which he missed the midweek friendly against Sweden. Robin Van Persie is doubtful for the game but Mexican Javier Hernandez ,who is in rich vein of form after scoring 7 goals in the last 5 games which included a second half brace against Villa, will head the attack for United. Micheal Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young are all available while in defense, Johnny Evans has not recovered from his injury and will be replaced by Chris Smalling who starts for the third consecutive game after his return from injury. Sir Alex also mentioned in the press conference that Phil Jones will make his come back during the midweek Champions league tie against Galatasaray in Turkey.
Formation and Tactics
Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are expected to start on the wings as United look to adapt the usual 4-4-1-1 formation with van Persie in playing just behind the striker. Tom Cleverley will add much required pace and creativity to the United midfield which had a lion’s share of possession but could not find the end result against Aston Villa. Smalling will have his work cut out as he takes on Grant Holt who is exceptional in the air and also has the ability to bring the wingers into action. Although United have come back from being a goal down during 5 occasions in the 11 games played in the League, they have managed to keep just 2 clean sheets so far. With the game against cross town rivals Manchester City fast approaching, Sir Alex’s men need to tighten up their defense and stop conceding early goals.
“We’ve been two goals behind against Tottenham and we were a bit unlucky not to come back. But it won’t happen all the time. It’s not definite that you’ll come back from 2-0 down. And this is the area we are going to improve on. We are going to defend better. We don’t want to lose the advantage of what we’ve experienced last week”, mentioned Sir Alex in the pre-match press conference.
United have won seven and lost just one of their last eight games at the Carrow Road in all competitions.
Norwich have scored 11 points from as many games this season and have climbed up to 15th position in the table.
United have an impressive 1.59 goals per game against Norwich at Carrow Road.
Grant Holt is the only goal scorer for Norwich in the last two encounters between the clubs.
United are expected to have done their home work and will try to contain Grant Holt which would handicap the Norwich attack.
Norwich City 0 – 2 Manchester United