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Preview: Norwich City v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Carrow Road, Norwich

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Saturday 7th May 2016, KO 12:45 BST Live on BT Sport 1HD

Referee: Craig Pawson

Assistant Referees: Mike Mullarkey and Dave Bryan

Fourth Official: Keith Hill

Manchester United go head to head with relegation fodder Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League to Carrow Road on Saturday lunchtime. United have three matches in the league remaining this season, including a game in hand over fourth-placed Manchester City. United need to pile the pressure on Norwich on their home turf by effectively confirming relegation for them in order to gain advantage over City, who face Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with anything less than a win putting the ball in United’s court, stealing fourth place on Tuesday with a victory over West Ham United, again away from Old Trafford. United have not had a good season, but you have to admit that injuries have added to the poor season, especially that of Luke Shaw who suffered a double leg fracture in the UEFA Champions League match away to PSV Eindhoven. That not only dealt a blow to his team-mate but destabilised the back four, especially in the fact that Shaw got forward a lot, supporting team-mate Memphis Depay, who has also suffered a loss of form and not been anything near his form for PSV last season, but he is playing in a much tougher league, which he may need to adapt to before starring. Some United supporters have written him off as a failure, despite the fact patience needs to be afforded. Not them, though, they know everything, including the future. I remember that some wrote of David De Gea and also Cristiano Ronaldo. Both are great examples of players that have adapted to a tougher league and grown considerably in their roles.

United have a tough run-in to the season, facing West Ham United in the last league encounter at Upton Park on Tuesday evening, before entertaining AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford on the final day of the season – a team which beat United 2-1 earlier in the season. An Emirates FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley will end the season, possibly on a high, a better high than last season where UEFA Champions League football returned to the club, albeit through the play-off round. This season could be similar, but United could instead see UEFA Europa League football from the group stages, which is a letdown, but still European competition and a tournament which United have never won. Whether Louis van Gaal remains the manager, Ryan Giggs or even Jose Mourinho – who knows, but I am sure all will be revealed in the summer. Rumours have suggested Mourinho will be installed as the manager, with more recent ones suggesting the Dutchman will be given until the end of his contract. We shall see.

Manchester City could end their season disappointingly. Seeing them eradicate themselves from the title race earlier in the season, then see themselves knocked out of the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League at the semi-final stage by Real Madrid, their end to the season could see another severe blow handed to them. Arsenal meet City on Sunday with them looking to secure third place in the league this season, a step up from their favoured fourth place. Should Arsenal do the business against the club which has siphoned their best players in the past, they will ultimately do United a favour in giving them the advantage over City in the race to fourth place. United first need to beat Norwich, then hope that this favour can be handed to them. United should, of course, have done it all themselves, beating Leicester City last Sunday would have been a great result with City losing to Southampton, United could have been within a point of them going into this weekends matches, which could have been much better for them, but it was not to be and United drew with the champions of the Premier League, who were handed their title on Monday after Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat former champions Chelsea. Imagine a Manchester City, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola playing UEFA Europa League football next season.

I am sure that would give the red side of Manchester, well actually Manchester a massive smile at the club that does not seem to get any negative press, not even for their Academy, which is not al gleaming as the media make out, despite the fact it is obvious that their articles and praises for the club, come from the club itself. How can an Academy which does not bear fruit into the first team be considered a success? Also one which seems to lose many talented players due to the fact they do not feel they are progressing at the club. The media seem to have slam-dunked themselves by praising something which should earn the praise by actually doing something good, rather that asking the media to praise them, in reward for hospitality and other things. It is clear that this is the case in that many journalists seems to have unrivalled access to City’s Academy, something which United and other clubs would not dream of doing.

United have a good record away from home against Norwich City in the Premier League, playing seven matches, winning five and losing two. Scoring ten goals and conceding five. Also keeping three clean sheets. The last time these two sides met at Carrow Road was back in December 2013. Ryan Giggs was still playing and Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the game in the 57th minute. United were beaten 2-1 by Norwich back in December 2015 at Old Trafford, with Anthony Martial scoring a consolation goal from 2-0 down in the 66th minute of the match, but United could not change the result. It would have been a big win for Norwich, but their season has been poor ever since and they find themselves scrapping for survival once again – no doubt they will play like Barcelona to try and grind out a favourable result, but United need the win a lot more than they do – they are not a proper Premier League club and just like Sunderland, who also seem to be scrapping for survival at the end of every season, deserve the Championship. Hopefully United will put them half way back there by the 3pm kick-offs in Saturday. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 35 matches, won 17, drawn 9, lost 9 and currently have 60 points

Scored 43 goals (1.23 goals per match) and conceded 31 goals (0.89 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 49%

Norwich City (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 35 matches, won 8, drawn 7, lost 20 and currently have 31 points

Scored 35 goals (1.00 goals per match) and conceded 61 goals (1.74 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 3 matches

Clean sheets 14%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 15 – Anthony Martial, 14 – Wayne Rooney, 8 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 5 – Own Goal, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Norwich City5 – Dieudonne Mbokani Bezua, Nathan Redmond, 4 – Wes Hoolahan, Jonny Howson, 3 – Robbie Brady, Cameron Jerome, Russell Martin, 2 – Sebastien Bassong, Matthew Jarvis, Alexander Tettey, 1 – Timm Klose, Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith, Martin Olsson, Steven Whittaker

Manchester United Form: DWWWWL

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Leicester City 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L

Norwich City Form: WDWWWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Arsenal 1-0 L, Sunderland 3-0 L, Crystal Palace 1-0 L, Newcastle United 3-2 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Manchester City 0-0 D

Head to Head:

Played seven matches at Carrow Road in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 5, Drawn 0, Lost 2 – Scored 10 goals, conceded 5 goals and kept 3 clean sheets

Norwich City: Won 2, Drawn 0, Lost 5 – Scored 5 goals, conceded 10 goals and kept 2 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 27. Marouane Fellaini (three matches) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Norwich City Squad:

Manager: Alex Neil

Goalkeepers: 1. John Ruddy, 13. Declan Rudd;

Defenders: 2. Steven Whittaker, 3. Andre Wisdom, 5. Russell Martin, 6. Sébastien Bassong, 17. Timm Klose, 23. Martin Olsson, 24. Ryan Bennett, 25. Ivo Pinto, 30. Ben Chilwell;

Midfielders: 7. Steven Naismith, 8. Jonny Howson, 12. Robbie Brady, 14. Wes Hoolahan, 16. Matt Jarvis, 18. Graham Dorrans, 20. Anthony Andreu, 21. Youssouf Mulumbu, 22. Nathan Redmond, 27. Alexander Tettey, 28. Gary O’Neil, 32. Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe;

Strikers: 9. Dieumerci Mbokani, 10. Cameron Jerome, 11. Patrick Bamford

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Andre Wisdom (knee), 17. Timm Klose (knee), 24. Ryan Bennett (illness), 27. Alexander Tettey (ankle/foot) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 29. Jamie Vardy (one match) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Norwich City 0-2 Manchester United

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