Manchester United welcome Norwich City to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon in a match that supporters will be demanding a raise in game from. United have been poor in 2022 and do not seem to be getting much better, neither wanting to.
The Old Trafford club look set to miss out on UEFA Champions League during the 2022/23 season, which will be a hammer blow to the Glazers who love earning money for the club but seem to hate the club earning the plaudits on the pitch. If only they understood football.
The American owners seem to use United as a cash cow, milking it as much as they can. But ensuring that the club were competitive, taking on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League, they would be earning money but they don’t seem to want to stump up cash.
The club is on the cusp of yet another manager and a new rebuilding process which is just going to result in the same problems time and time again unless football men, with experience are doing the work, which will probably never be the case. The decline of this football club is criminal.
Previous meetings with Norwich and their connections with United.
United and Norwich have met 19 times in the Premier League. United have won 15 times, drawn once with Norwich winning three times. United have scored 36 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three. Norwich have scored 11 goals, winning no penalties.
United have kept 11 clean sheets with Norwich keeping two. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 16 yellow cards and no red cards and Norwich players being shown 23 yellow cards and no red cards. United’s season is effectively over but they need to start winning again.
Robbie Brady, Steve Bruce, Jacob Butterfield, Luke Chadwick, Ritchie De Laet, Dion Dublin, David Fox, David Healy, Paul Heckingbottom, Rhodri Jones, Phil Mulryne, Alex Notman, Anthony Pilkington, Simon Ratcliffe, Mark Robins, Michael Rose, and Martin Russel all played for both clubs.
Brandon Williams is currently on loan at the club and ineligible to face United this weekend. David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand both had trials at Norwich. Henning Berg, who is currently a scout for the played for United. Mike Phelan, United assistant coach, also played for both clubs.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Norwich in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
I think that David De Gea will end the season as the goalkeeper for United, despite the fact that Dean Henderson will want some match time. I’m not sure Henderson will be given a chance by Ralf Rangnick – United need to achieve something this season and that would not be it.
De Gea is an experienced goalkeeper and seems likely to be the player that will demand a raise in game from his teammates. At this stage of the season, despite Champions League football unlikely, there is still a chance that United can break into the top four, but it is not in their hands.
The Spanish goalkeeper will want to remaining seven matches this season to be positive and perhaps it should also be seen that those who have no future at the club are cast aside for youth to be given a chance so they have some experience to help them in the future.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United need to work together as a team, which is not what we have seen for the past six months or so. There seems to be little team work and no gelling of the team. This is just individuals. The defence will need to pick up the slack, especially the captain.
Diogo Dalot should be restored to the right-back position as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not that great against Everton. Alex Telles will keep his place at left-back with Luke Shaw’s injury which could see him out for the rest of the season.
In the centre of defence, Victor Lindelöf and Harry Maguire will most likely partner considering the absence of Raphaël Varane and Eric Bailly’s absence for whatever reason in the past few weeks. Phil Jones could get some game time, but that seems unlikely at this time.
Midfield: Nemanja Matić, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes
The midfield is down to its barebones following the injuries to Fred and Scott McTominay, who will both be missed. That said, Nemanja Matić could offer something, especially with a week in between each of the last few matches, although with Liverpool on Tuesday something will need to give.
Matić could well start this match and he could be good as long as there is a player on the bench that can add fresh legs in the second half. Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes will be the other midfield players against Norwich but both will need to show themselves for it to work well.
Pogba has bene playing like he has already left the club and has little care. Fernandes has bags of frustration, which he should try and solve by working hard and creating. Charlie Savage and Hannibal Mejbri could offer something, should reinforcement be needed from the bench.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford
United’s forward line needs to find the space, get the service and find the results for United if they are to finish the season strongly. It will give the new manager man doubts if these players continue to fail to make the grade at the club. Cristiano Ronaldo will not be happy with this.
United need to bust a gut to right the wrongs in the summer as what happened in the summer of 2021 has not really improved the club at all. Ronaldo should lead the line as he is the only player that can do that who has some kind of form in the past few months.
Jadon Sancho should feature on the right for United, which is his main position, although he has scored and assisted from the left. Marcus Rashford should play on the left, which is where he has pulled out the best form. But it does not seem to be that easy for United with players uninterested.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alvaro Fernandez; Jesse Lingard, Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie Savage; Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho
United must get their substitutes right and with so many players entering the final few weeks of their contracts at the club, giving youth a chance would be much better, then at the end of the season, allowing players the opportunity to say goodbye to the club and its supporters.
Dean Henderson will remain on the bench as a replacement for De Gea. In defence, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alvaro Fernandez should be options with youth (Fernandez) given a chance. In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Hannibal Mejbri and Charlie Savage could be options.
In attack, Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho should get the chance to be involved in this match if needed, which could be the case. United need to get the end of the season right, which could get them on the right road ahead of the new season under a new manager.
Written by John Walker