Norwich City v Manchester United - Paddy Davitt’s prediction
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If the top flight allure from Norwich’s membership of the Premier League was starting to wane, Manchester United’s visit could not be better timed.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad has Hollywood star appeal stamped right through it. From a Spanish keeper purchased for a reported £19m to fill the void left by Edwin van der Sar right through to a £20m purchase in Wayne Rooney at the oppostie end of the pitch who, even at that price, looks good value in the global football marketplace. Not forgetting the homegrown talents of evergreen duo Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
Should City be seduced by the names on the team sheet there would be little point venturing onto the Carrow Road turf. Norwich have shown plenty of respect to the big boys, but little deference this campaign. They will need that inner self-belief in spades for this assignment.
United’s cross-city title rivals are arguably the only opponent who have comprehensively sent Norwich packing this campaign at the Etihad. United possess a similar attacking capacity. Pace in wide midfield areas, vision and passing ability centrally and striking talent that is the envy of most.
Norwich were brave at Old Trafford; defensive resolve combined with no small measure of counter-attacking threat. City’s recent league run has been notable for the maturity of their collective development. Efficiency will be the bare minimum required to temporarily halt United’s bid for a 20th league title. Norwich will have to take any chance that come their way. It is hardly a slight to state United’s attacking armoury needs to have an off day in Norfolk.
United are not unbeatable but only one league defeat on their travels this season testifies to the scale of the task.
• Norwich City 1, Manchester United 3