1. That was probably the least enjoyable game of the season so far, with United playing like a group of strangers. To be fair to Norwich, they set themselves up well, with nine men behind the ball all the time, but we were lacking ideas when it came to breaking them down. You’re going to have those games every now and then but it’s not particularly encouraging when it follows the performances we’ve seen against Stoke and Basle. Still, we haven’t got a settled XI, we do have injuries, and we shouldn’t put about knee jerk reactions. We got the points and that is far more important than a performance.
2. Sir Alex Ferguson claimed changing our defence every week was the cause of our issues against Basle. Then yesterday changed the keeper brought Evans in and played winger Antonio Valencia at right back. Anders Lindegaard made a great reflex save after a shot was deflected towards goal although his erratic distribution suggests that David de Gea shouldn’t be worrying about losing the #1 jersey just yet. There were several mistakes across the back four and better opponents would have made us pay. However, one of these mistakes lead to one of my favourite moments of the match. Phil Jones had to cover for Evans, but instead of rushing to the player and leaving his man unmarked, he patiently waited until the last possible second before making a superb block. I love him. But you knew that because I say it every week.
3. A player who I regularly express my love for had a disappointing day and more or less found himself redundant. Chicharito’s job is to play on the shoulder of the last defender but was offside pretty every time the ball came to him. In 65 minutes on the pitch he had just one attempt which was blocked. He’s had a stop-start beginning to the season and this will no doubt have an impact on his form, although not being able to get a basic thing right like keeping onside is very frustrating. Has he lost his starting place to Danny Welbeck now?
4. One of the few highlights of the game was Danny Welbeck’s substitution, which saw him complete as many passes in 25 minutes as Hernandez managed in 65, as well as scoring the goal that sealed the result. He played in a lovely ball to Park who returned it for the tap in. Can we get really excited about this local lad now? He’s scored 5 goals in 8 appearances this season and looks up for it every time he plays. It really seems to have paid off sending him to Sunderland for the year. He went a boy, came back a man and I love seeing his name in the starting line-up.
5. Another player who benefited from a year out on loan and whose stock is rising every week is Tom Cleverley. He hasn’t played since our 5-0 win over Bolton but with every passing game, with the manager trying out unimpressive combinations of central midfielders, more and more expectation is building. He should be fit by Liverpool but you wouldn’t imagine he will start at Anfield. He can’t come back soon enough though, with Ando and Fletcher doing little to make that position theirs.
6. It was Anderson who got that all important goal though, with the midfielder setting himself a target of 10 goals this season. You wouldn’t put money on him scoring with his head, but that’s exactly what happened, after a Giggs corner was headed on from Jones and Rooney. It was a massive relief after struggling to find a way through before then.
7. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young have the highest goals and assists in the league this season. With Young missing and Rooney having an off day, it is no surprise this had an effect on the performance. Rooney’s obsession with trying to score a chip drives me mental. One on one with the keeper, he gave it a go, only for the ball to sail over the crossbar, but harder to forgive was his decision to try a chip when Welbeck was waiting for a tap in. United are ahead of City by just one goal. Just put it in the back of the net Wazza, off you’re arse if you must. To his credit, he played some excellent long range balls to the right wing all game but all in all, he wasn’t at the races.
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