On December 19th, Norwich City travel to Old Trafford to take on an out of form Manchester United. United are winless in their last five matches in all competitions. After a humiliating defeat away to Bournemouth last weekend, Louis Van Gaal’s men will look to bounce back with a victory against the Canaries. Despite getting a good result against Everton, Norwich fell into the relegation zone for the first time since the opening day after Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Tottenham. While Old Trafford is still not an easy place to go, Norwich could not have asked for a better time to go there. Between the injuries, the poor form, and the mounting pressure on both Louis Van Gaal and his players, the Canaries have a real chance of getting a point, or maybe even three.
Norwich will have close to a full squad to take on United with. They will however be without the services of both Matt Jarvis and Andre Wisdom. Jarvis will not be back until the end of the month with a knee injury, while Wisdom’s return date is unknown as he recovers from the hamstring injury he picked up against Everton.
Manchester United’s matchday squad could look very different depending on the results of a few fitness tests. Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian, and Jesse Lingard are all doubts for the Norwich match, but will face late tests to determine whether they are fit or not. Wayne Rooney is still out until the end of the month. Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia, and Luke Shaw are all out for much longer with long term injuries. United will also be without Bastian Schweinsteiger as he is serving the second game of a three game ban after being charged with violent conduct after his actions in the game against West Ham.
Three of the last four times these two have met Manchester United have won 4-0. These two sides have not drawn in any of their last 11 meetings. United have won 16 of their last 19 meetings between these two. Louis Van Gaal’s side have not conceded in any of their last six home games in all competitions.
Manchester United: Michael Carrick
Louis Van Gaal’s tactics are all about controlling possession and controlling space. This gives his team the control of the game that he craves. When it comes to control, there aren’t many better than Michael Carrick. With United’s death by possession tactic, the 34 year old’s influence and control will be vital, especially with Bastian Scweinstager suspended. He is key to Manchester United’s success and he helps allow Louis Van Gaal to implement his tactics to control the game.
Norwich City: Wes Hoolahan
While Manchester United have struggled to score goals, they can keep a clean sheet and if Norwich can score it’ll take a moment of magic. Wes Hoolahan has shown he’s able to create a moment of magic this season. The Irishman has five assists and two goals, including one last week against Everton. He’s been able to create goals for the Canaries this season, and they’ll need that creativity if they want to break down Manchester United’s defense.
For as bad as Manchester United have been in the last month, they’ll still have enough to get through this with a win. They’re still yet to lose at home in the league this season and Norwich have only won one of their eight home games. All that points to a Manchester United win.
Prediction: 1-0 Manchester United