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Norwich v Manchester United: A chance for defenders to shine

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Given the defensive troubles United have faced this season, it’s telling that in a season when City look weaker and Chelsea still look incomplete, United are top of the table and through to the Champions League knockout stages in mid-November. As we go into the heavy winter fixture list with 11 matches to play between now and the end of the year, an away game to City looks the only difficult hurdle between now and ending the year top of the table.

Next up are Norwich, who’ve done a decent recovery job and gone 4 games unbeaten after a horror start to the season that saw them tipped for relegation. They’re not completely out of the woods but they’ve shored up defensively and the teams below them keep conceding goals for fun.

Having said that, Norwich’s record against United is poor – they’ve only beaten United once in their last 14 league meetings and when you couple that with United’s impressive away form – five consecutive away wins so far – all signs point to another tight United win.

Use your free £20 bet from bwin to bet on a 2-0 United win with Robin van Persie scoring first at 17.

Norwich have the second-worst goal-scoring record this season, with only Sunderland scoring fewer goals (and Sunderland can’t buy goals at the moment). It’s not the worst time to have defenders missing, but I also think that we’ve stretched our nerves and pushed our luck to the limit this season and we need to start controlling games from the start instead of conjuring victories out of a pea-sized hat.

Under Ferguson, United are masters of coming out top at the end of a marathon season. It obviously helps that the manager has been given the time and space to develop his methods and the autonomy to stick to them, and the approach in pre-season shows. Where other clubs are all about managers and players getting to know each other (or in Arsenal’s case, trying to hold on to wantaway players), United’s pre-season is different – it’s just the first step in getting the players ready to perform at their best at key moments during the season.

United’s impressive league record is a testimony to their preparation, and as we go into this run of 11 games (12 if you count the away game to Wigan on 1st January) in 6 weeks, United are the best prepared to come out the strongest team in 2013.

Of course, this is also usually the time when United’s defensive crisis rears up – the past two or three seasons have made for painful viewing – so hopefully United’s players will make it through December for the key January games against Spurs and Liverpool.

United’s recent impressive record – and that of their players – makes for good reading. Here are some key stats:

Manchester United Stats

  • United have won 14 of their last 16 matches in all competitions, including nine of the last 10 league fixtures.
  • They have trailed in 10 of their 17 matches this season. In the league, they have gained an unrivalled 15 points from losing positions – five times as many as they managed in 2011-12.
  • A sixth successive away win in the Premier League would represent their best form since a similar sequence between December 2001 and February 2002.
  • Javier Hernandez has scored seven goals in his last five appearances in all competitions. He has scored 27 goals in 62 league appearances for United, despite only making 34 starts.
  • Robin van Persie has scored eight goals and registered three assists in 11 Premier League appearances for the club. He has also scored 56 goals in his last 66 league games.

Norwich v Manchester United Betting

Although Rooney and Evans are set to miss this game and Jones is not back till next week, Hernandez and RvP are both set to start the game, and the duo are 6.5 and 4 (respectively) to get the first goal of the game with bwin.

Join bwin and get a free £20 bet for Norwich v Man Utd

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Nice write up Scott.
    Only thing to add is that we won home and away last year v Norwich and their lack of goals makes this a tasty proposition again. But Uniteds open style always invites the opposition to have a go and the seem to love doing it in the first 60 minutes. Luckily we have the attacking options to see it though.

    Spare a thought for Mark Clattenberg, unemployed yet again thanks to Chelsea and the bungling FA.

  2. DreadedRed says:

    Happy Match Day Reds!

    Come on United!


    Even if they score 4………………………RVP and Chicharito will score 5

    You dont really need a defense to shine when you have a couple of goal machines at the other end

    I predict at least four to hit the back of the Norwich net and our defense and DDG are not letting 5 past them today…………………………………..Norwich didnt sign IBRA did they ? No – OK – then nothing to worry about.
    Put them three points in our bag already.

  4. Marq says:

    For God’s sake can we just score 5 without conceding 3?

  5. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Only truth of winning that is worth printing is putting the ball in their net more times then they put it in yours.
    United have scored 29 times in the EPL this season, which marks up nicely v Norwich’s 8.

    With changing the defense every week through injury the lads are always going to risk shipping a couple goals. Thankfully the attack is well sorted and we always have a chance.

    Let’s be positive and know that the back 4 are doing their best. Whatever happens we are United and we do as we like.

    Put your match day faces on lads. Get in United!

  6. tom c says:


  7. Proverb says:

    Great write up scott, I second that
    Only 3 points will please the faithful tonight, hopefully we get them all
    Conceding goals is a worry but not as much of a worry if we manage to score one more than the opposition has, that makes for entertaining games which I like ;)
    Hopefully wazza will be fit in time to start, I really love watching shrek, he always keep us excited and make the team tick with his amazing stamina and willingness to risk all for the team..
    Its only a pity I’ll be able to watch it unfortunately, but I’ll be cheering for the boys from wherever I’ll at
    Now enough of mushy, mushy
    Let’s go boyyysss!!!!

    As the reds go marching on on on…

  8. Proverb says:

    ..A pity I’ll not be able….*

  9. Raf's Curling Tongs says:

    Wouldn’t underestimate Norwich. They did well against Chelsea and it was only some seriously poor finishing (on chiefly Holts part) that was the biggest difference in the game, regardless of MOTD bumming the Rents’ Barca-esque play.

    Holt is exactly the type of big smelly thug that Rio hates playing against. They also play with Hoolahan as another mid, making it easier for them to park it. No pissing about. Go with the strongest line up we have.

  10. Arthur "van Two Sheds" Jackson says:

    Vidic can’t come back soon enough. We have to cut the defense some slack, I think. Injuries have plagued it from the start of the season.

    But on the positive side, Rafael has had to emerge as one of our anchors. He has really shined this season, developing into his full potential, and despite how well RvP has played, the little Brazilian is a legitimate candidate for our “best player” thus far.

    I love this kid. Here’s to Fabio coming back to us soon and living up to the high standard his brother is setting!

  11. Chicalole says:

    i’m hoping for a big scoreline, Hernandez can really fly his flag 2day, should be interesting to see how him and rvp cooperate in the absence of wazza

  12. Unitedforeva says:

    Let’s not mess up this one & tuck another 3 pts under our belt. I got 10dollars on 1-5 to United & as footballers like to say, its not the money, its the project.

  13. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Fabio is on the bench for QPR, Great news after 2 months out!!
    Hope he works his way back into the side as well!

  14. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Last Feb, The United XI was

    de Gea
    Jones, Evans, Rio, Evra
    Nani, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs
    Hernandez, Welbeck

    Goals by Scholes and Giggs gave us a 2-1 away win.
    Could see a return of all of them except for Jones and Evans who are both out.

  15. wayne says:

    Ha how much did the rent boys pay for muppet Luiz he’s fucking junk,I knew the Rent boy cunts would start falling apart once we beat them
    Fancy Utd to keep on rolling along enjoying watching them lots fucking love open high scoring football

  16. FletchTHEMAN says:

    What you lads think? We in for Tom Ince or no.

    I thought no, but then heard that Liverpool have only offered 5M, which means we can easily beat that if we want the player.

    Then this, If Fergie actually said this today, then it only is meant to have one audience…….. Yup, the livingroom of a certain Paul Ince.

    Liverpool ruined Michael Owen?! Ooooch!

  17. Red Robin says:

    Tom Ince? We have Robbie Brady.

  18. FletchTHEMAN says:


    De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young; Van Persie, Rooney

  19. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Looking at that, it’s all wrong That can’t be right!

  20. Red Robin says:

    Rent boys may drop points tonight. Great goal from Odemwingie!

  21. evisu says:

    City kicking in 2nd gear with silva back and aguero hitting form, title race with the manchester clubs at the top again.

  22. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Starting XI Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia, Young, RVP, Hernandez

    via MUTV

  23. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Subs: Johnstone Jones Ando Welbeck Scholes Cleverley Fletch

    via Steve Bartam

  24. FletchTHEMAN says:

    MUTV reporting that De Gea had Wisdom teeth out. So Johnstone steps up to the bench.

  25. Harry says:

    Haha Rent boys lost.

  26. evisu says:

    Chelsea rentboys!! West brom is no laughing matter, they are one point behind chelsea now.


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