Manchester United vs. Norwich City: Preview, Team News, Predicted Lineups

Vijay MuraliAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ashley Young of Manchester United celebrates with Danny Welbeck (R) as scores their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester United and FC Basel at Old Trafford on September 27, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United have emerged as early favorites for the Premiership this season after their good wins against teams like Arsenal and Chelsea and though their winning run was halted by Peter Crouch and Stoke who drew with the Red Devils, they are still at the top of the table. Manchester City are also close to the Red Devils but United have the experience and quality to believe that they can retain the Premiership this season as well.

For them to win the Premiership which is by no means an easy task, they will have to put in strong performances throughout the season. It is important that they do not drop points against weaker teams and also, home form is crucial throughout the season. In the last season, United struggled on the road for several months till everything went right for them but their home form was brilliant in the previous season.

Sir Alex Ferguson is a tough taskmaster and will expect nothing but a strong performance from his players against Norwich City after throwing away a two-goal lead against FC Basel in the Champions League. The long-serving Manchester United manager was clearly not pleased with his side's efforts in the Champions League encounter because they should have secured all the three points from the game after two early goals from Danny Welbeck.

However, they only just managed to secure a point through Ashley Young's equalizer and Ferguson will expect the team to be at their best against Norwich City at Old Trafford. Norwich City have made rapid progress in the last two seasons where they have advanced from League One to Premier League football by securing consecutive promotions.

Under the astute management of Paul Lambert, Norwich have also started the season decently and at this stage, they are even ahead of quality teams such as Arsenal and Everton. The Canaries have found their feet in the Premiership and after notching successive wins against Bolton and Sunderland, it does seem like they have a realistic chance of finishing outside the dreaded relegation zone this season.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Manager of Norwich City Paul Lambert, Adam Drury and Elliot Ward celebrates promotion during the npower Championship match between Norwich City and Coventry City at Carrow Road on May 7, 2011 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Jam
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Though Manchester United start the fixture as the favorites, they would not underestimate Norwich City, who have shown that they do have the quality to threaten other teams. Lambert's team will not have much to lose as they will be the underdogs as the visiting side against the Red Devils which is why they will play without any fear. It does seem like United, City and Chelsea could fight till the end for the Premiership which is why it is important for the Red Devils to win this week.


Manchester United

Manchester United will be confident going into the game despite drawing their last two games and it is likely that Ferguson will use his best side against Norwich City. United do have some injury worries and it is likely that Wayne Rooney will not play a role in the game after sustaining an injury recently.

Though Javier Hernandez did have to come off against Stoke City, he could be fit for the game against Norwich but there is a good chance that Ferguson could prefer Welbeck over the little Mexican after his midweek performance. Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling could also be ruled out while there is still some time to go before Rafael can return to the fold.

Though Manchester United's defense has not been solid enough in the last few games due to the injury to Nemanja Vidic, they do have a decent back line and their flair in attack should enable them to create plenty of opportunities. Young and Nani have been in superb form throughout this season while Welbeck is also showing his quality and the Canaries defense will have a tough day against the trio.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Danny Welbeck of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester United and FC Basel at Old Trafford on September 27, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/G
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Predicted Lineup: David De Gea, Fabio, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Danny Welbeck, Nani, Ashley Young


Norwich City

Norwich City are clearly the underdogs in this encounter and it is a tag which they would not mind having as it would mean less pressure on the side. It is clear that Lambert has huge faith in his team and he would expect them to give their best efforts against a team, which is clearly amongst the best in the world.

The Canaries did show at Bolton that they can deliver the goods under hostile conditions and they will hope to secure at least a point from the game. It is clear that they cannot afford space to any of United's attacking players because they will put away any chances they do get in the game. Norwich will have to be organized and also they will have to be clinical with the few chances that they could get in the game.

It will be a huge task for Norwich City at Old Trafford but it will be something new for the Canaries and their fans and they will enjoy the game as well. It is clear that their aim this season is to stay in the Premier League next season and every point counts for the team. Canaries have had two successive wins and will most probably retain the winning combination.

Predicted Lineup: John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Leon Barnett, Marc Tierney, Kyle Naughton, Bradley Johnson, David Fox, Anthony Pilkington, Wesley Hoolahan, Elliott Bennett, Steve Morison 



Though Canaries are a team with a lot of passion and determination, Manchester United's quality is likely to be too good for them. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was not pleased with the side's performance in the second half against Basel and will demand them to be at their best against Norwich.

Manchester United 4-1 Norwich City