Premier League: Norwich City vs Manchester United - Team News, Preview, and Prediction
Alex Neil’s Norwich welcome Manchester United to Carrow Road in Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League. This fixture is bound to be a crucial game as both sides cannot afford to drop points. Norwich are currently in the relegation zone while the Red Devils are looking to get back into the Champions League qualification spots.
In last week’s fixtures, Manchester United drew with Leicester City at Old Trafford, gaining only a point, which was detrimental to their Champions League aspirations. Manchester City lost to Southampton last weekend and a win against Leicester would have put United in a favourable position for a place in the top four.
Norwich, on the other hand, are coming into this game on the back of three consecutive defeats in the league. Inspite of giving arguably their best performance of the season at the Emirates last weekend, they lost.
The Canaries must turn around this wretched run of results if they are to stay in the Premier League. This fixture should provide a glimmer of hope to Norwich as they had defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season.
Manager Alex Neil was optimistic about his team escaping the relegation zone saying, “We performed really well [against Arsenal]. We had good opportunities, particularly in the first half where Nathan Redmond pulled three saves out of Petr Cech. We looked the more likely to score, our game plan worked well, we frustrated Arsenal and limited a really good side to very little in the game. If we perform as well as we did today and produce three performances like that then we will pick up points."
Norwich will miss Alexander Tettey through ankle injury, and centre backs Timm Klose and Andre Wisdom through knee injuries.
United manager Louis van Gaal emphasised the importance of winning this game in Friday’s press conference by saying, “We have to win our matches because otherwise we cannot be in the first four – that's the pressure that we have. We have to fight until the end, and then we have still a title (FA Cup) to win. We have to assess the tiredness of the players because there's an overload of matches, so maybe I have to rotate. Every week you have something that you don't like, but I think we can manage."
Manchester United’s injury crisis seems to have finally subsided as Louis van Gaal has only three players out with injury. Bastian Schweinsteiger is out with a long-term knee injury,
Luke Shaw is still recovering from his horrific injury and striker Will Keane is out with a pelvis injury. Marouane Fellaini will miss the game as he is serving a three-match suspension for elbowing Robert Huth.
Norwich City: Last 5 matches W-W-L-L-L (Last match Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City)
Norwich go into this game week on the back of some wretched form. They have lost their previous three fixtures without scoring a single goal inspite of putting up their best performance of the season against Arsenal. They need to work on their finishing if they are to take anything away from this game.
Manchester United: Last 5 matches W-W-W-W-D (Last match Manchester United 1-1 Leicester)
Manchester United visit Norwich in decent form. They drew their previous fixture at Old Trafford against Leicester, before which they had won four games on the bounce.
Probable starting line-ups
Norwich City (4-4-2): Ruddy; Pinto, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, O’Neil, Brady; Hoolahan, Jerome.
Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Herrera, Rooney; Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Anthony Martial vs Ivo Pinto
Purchased from Monaco in the summer transfer window, Anthony Martial has been a revelation for Manchester United this season. He has tormented defences with his speed and dribbling and has been the club's most consistent threat this season.
The young Frenchman is United’s top scorer and will be looking forward to playing on the left flank against the unheralded Pinto. His performance will be crucial in deciding the result of this game.
Nathan Redmond vs Marcos Rojo
Nathan Redmond is Norwich’s brightest creative spark. Playing on the right wing, he will be looking to exploit the space left behind by the marauding Anthony Martial. Manchester United’s left-back, Marcos Rojo is susceptible in one-on-one situations, a weakness which will be exploited by Redmond.
Redmond will look to get the better of the Argentine and provide service to the likes of Cameron Jerome and Wes Hoolahan in the penalty area. Redmond will be key to Norwich’s hopes of getting a result in this game.
It will be a tight game at Carrow Road with Norwich fighting for survival but Manchester United’s superior quality in all positions should get them through this game with a 1-2 margin of victory.