Manchester United vs. Norwich: Success in Capital One Cup Crucial for Red Devils
Manchester United have won just four of their first nine Premier League games, given up 12 goals in the process and barely squeaked by a far inferior Stoke City team, 3-2, last Saturday.
Suffice to say, it's pretty hard to imagine this United team repeating as champions, at least if their early play is any indication. And that's why earning a trophy in another competition, such as the Capital One Cup, is crucial for the Red Devils this season.
Advancing against a Norwich City team that has taken just eight points in nine Premier League matches, in theory, should be a given Tuesday. Norwich has scored just six Premier League goals this season, so they shouldn't threaten a United defense that has given up six goals in its past four games.
Well, at least you wouldn't think they would trouble United, though we were all saying the same before Stoke City, weren't we?
Of course, this United team has the firepower to overcome their suddenly suspect defense, and players like Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez deserve to continue getting starts for the club. Each should feature for United in this fixture.
As usual, question marks in the midfield will be an issue for the Red Devils. Of all of their central midfielders, only Michael Carrick (7.2) has earned an average match rating of 7.0 or higher at WhoScored.com.
In his four Premier League appearances for the team, Marouane Fellaini has been somewhat of a disappointment, earning an average match rating of just 6.58 while injuring his wrist. To this point, he hasn't been worth the £27.5 million transfer fee it took to bring him over from Everton, but if he rediscovered his form from a year ago (when WhoScored rated him a 7.57), he could drastically improve United.
He's somewhat of a player with divergent skills, however. He looks just as comfortable poaching near the box and playing up the field as he does lying deeper and providing a defensive presence. Unlike Carrick, however, he hasn't shown at United the ability to provide the latter and facilitate for his teammates with a cutting pass.
Even if United sit many of their regular first-team players for this game, they have a deep enough stable of players that they should win. Norwich City is a very nice Round 4 draw for the Red Devils, as they could have easily drawn a tougher opponent.
Which team wins?
For United, winning the league trophy may not be in the cards this year, but smaller goals, like finishing top four, advancing far in the Champions League and winning a domestic cup outside of the Premier League are all achievable goals.
The last thing they need in an already disappointing season is a shocking loss to Norwich.
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