Norwich City -v- Manchester United
Carrow Road, Norwich
Saturday 11 December 2021, KO 17:30 GMT
Referee: Darren England Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: Andy Madley VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart
Manchester United will face Norwich City in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday evening. The match comes three days after the 1-1 draw against Young Boys in the final UEFA Champions League group stage match of the season with United winning the group and making the knockout stages of the competition. It was Ralf Rangnick’s second match in charge of the club and like Michael Carrick, he is so far undefeated with United winning three and drawing two of their last five matched post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United will be expected to continue that run of form as they bid to get back in with a chance of challenging this season.
United current sit sixth in the Premier League table with 24 points, three points adrift of fourth place and 11 points adrift of the top spot, currently held by Manchester City. Norwich sit rock bottom in the league, earning just ten points in the 15 matches they have played this season, winning twice, drawing four times and losing nine times. They share the relegation places with Newcastle United (19th) and Burnley (18th) with Watford, who beat United 4-1 recently, sitting in 17th place, three points clear of the trio in the drop zone. Of course, this could all change before a ball is kicked at Carrow Road with five matches being played before this one.
Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWWDWL
Young Boys 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W, Watford 4-1 L
Goals: 12 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek
Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 3 – Luke Shaw, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane
Norwich City – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LDDWWL
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Southampton 2-1 W, Brentford 2-1 W, Leeds United 2-1 L
Goals: 5 – Teemu Pukki, 2 – Joshua Sargent, Christos Tzolis, 1 – Grant Hanley, Kenny McLean, Mathias Normann, Andrew Omobamidele, Lukas Rupp
Assists: 2 – Christos Tzolis, 1 – Max Aarons, Kieran Dowell, Dimitris Giannoulis, Billy Gilmour, Kenny McLean, Mathias Normann, Milot Rashica, Joshua Sargent
Previous meetings with Norwich City and their connections with Manchester United.
United and Norwich have met a total of 18 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 14 times, drawn once with Norwich winning the remaining three matches. United have scored 35 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. Norwich have scored 11 goals, winning no penalties. United have kept a total of 10 clean sheets with Norwich keeping two. United players have been shown a total of 15 yellow cards and no red cards in this fixture with Norwich players shown a total of 22 yellow cards and no red cards. United are in much better form than they were in early November and will seek to take advantage of the strugglers.
United and Norwich have a good history. Mike Phelan both played for Norwich. Brandon Williams is currently on loan at the club. Mike Haines (Technical Scout) and Matthew Lewis (Performance Analyst) both worked for United. Henning Berg is a scout for the Norfolk club. 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, some at youth level. David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand both had trials at Norwich.
Team News: Pogba and Martial ruled out through injury, Wan-Bissaka 50/50 to be involved against Norwich with Varane and Cavani back in training but not likely to find involvement in this match.
Paul Pogba (Thigh) and Anthony Martial (Knee) have been ruled out for the trip to Norwich. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Hand/Wrist/Knee) was stretched off in the draw with Young Boys, meaning he’s likely to have a 50/50 chance of being able to feature for United. Raphael Varane (Thigh) has returned to training but this match might come too soon for him – especially in what happened the last time he returned from injury. Edinson Cavani (Tendon) is also back in training but this match also comes too soon for him. It is expected that both Varane and Cavani could return ahead of the visit of Brighton and Hove Albion to the Theatre of Dreams on the 18 December.
Christoph Zimmermann (Ankle) and Milot Rashica (Groin) have both been ruled out of the visit of United due to injury. Brandon Williams is ineligible to face his parent club, being on loan at Norwich, which could be a big miss for the club. Mathias Normann (Pelvic) has a 50% chance of featuring for his club on Saturday evening whilst Sam Byram (Fitness) has a 25% chance of featuring against United. Norwich find themselves at the bottom of the league ahead of this match, which will be daunting for them, especially with United in much better form than they were in mid-November. If this match was a month ago, they would have been confident.
Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho and Greenwood to lead United’s attack against Norwich? Fernandes, Fred and McTominay to feature in midfield? Dalot to win back his place in defence?
Rangnick probably does not fully know what kind of structure he will go with at this time, having been in charge of just two matches, one of which saw the majority of the first team left out. I think he will continue to experiment with is team and there could be some changes still to come. It is a relatively easy run for United for the foreseeable future, which is not suggesting that it will be an easy ride, but United have played the majority of the big clubs now, at least for this stage of the season. United will still be expected to continue to achieve results, which have been positive in the past five matches. The run will need to continue.
I would like to see Dean Henderson given another chance against Norwich this weekend, which will give Rangnick some first hand knowledge on the structure with him in the team. It is safe to say he is a different type of goalkeeper to David De Gea, who has kept his place in the team thus far. In defence, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw could all start with the latter returning on Wednesday from a head injury. In midfield, Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes could all start with Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo in the attacking positions. That could be a great fit for United right now.
Match Prediction: United beat Norwich home and away during the 2019/20 season, scoring seven goals and conceding one as the club ended up being relegated to the Championship that season.
United and Norwich did not face each other in the Premier League last season because of Norwich’s relegation at the end of the 2019/20 season. Bask then, United beat Norwich twice. In the fixture at Carrow Road which was played on the 27 October 2019, United won 3-1. Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored the goals for United with Onel Hernandez getting a late consolation. At Old Trafford, which was played on the 11 January 2020, United won 4-0 with the goals scored by Rashford, who scored a brace, Martial and Mason Greenwood. United need to do the same this season – brushing the relegation candidates aside.
United seem to be in a better stage in confidence having been undefeated in their last five matches. Michael Carrick led United to two wins and one draw with Rangnick so far guiding United to a win and a draw. Two clean sheets have been kept with United beating Villarreal, Arsenal and Crystal Palace and drawing to Chelsea and Young Boys – although a team of fringe players was used in the latter match with some debuts being given for promising youth players. United have a good run ahead of them over the Festive period, which is a good sign compared to the run that contributed to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.
Norwich City 0-4 Manchester United
Written by John Walker