Reds ready for Norwich visit

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United squad heads into the international break with a far healthier injury situation than just four days ago. While the Scot was missing seven players for United’s Champions League draw with FC Basel on Tuesday night, Ferguson will welcome back key strikers Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernández for the clash with Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday. Rooney has recovered from a minor hamstring strain, while the dead-leg suffered by Ferguson’s Mexican striker is less severe than first thought.

It is Rooney and Hernández that will fire United to Premier and Champions League glory this season according to Ferguson, with the Scot insisting the pair can match Dwight York and Andy Cole for goals and understanding. Yorke and Cole scored more than half-a-century of goals during United’s 1999 treble winning season.

“Wayne and Javier Hernandez will be fit for tomorrow. They trained yesterday very well and I was pleased with that,” said Ferguson on Friday.

“They haven’t played a full season together yet. Yorke and Cole scored 52 goals in that season between them, which was exceptional because Yorkie [had] just joined us. It was his first season. Unbelievable. I think Yorkie that season was probably one of the best strikers in Europe. For a first season player he was amazing. He and Andy just hit it off immediately.”

“The goal threat was immense on a regular basis when Hernández came into the side just after Christmas. The boy has come back and scored two goals so far. I really do expect him to score 25 and over because he has got something in that box. Wayne has had a fantastic start to the season and has got nine goals at the moment. The capability is there and I’ve got Welbeck, and I’ve got Owen, and I’ve got Berbatov, and I’ve got Macheda and I’ve got Diouf. It’s a terrific unit, that.”

But although Ferguson is purring at the thought of his first choice strikers returning for the clash with Paul Lambert’s newly promoted East Anglians there is also a warning from the Scot about the lax defending and complacency that crept into United’s performance against Basel.

`Manchester United v Norwich City, Premier League, Old Trafford, 3pm, 1 October 2011.Tom Cleverley, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling will each return to the first team picture in a fortnight’s time, although not in time to shore up a United back-four that shipped three against Basel. However, Jonny Evans could return to Ferguson’s starting side for the clash with Norwich. Lambert’s side is brimming with confidence after securing a first win of the season over Sunderland on Monday night.

“Jonny Evans also comes back, hopefully that will help us in the defensive part as we’re certainly changing the back four at the moment Vidic, Cleverley and Smalling should be ready after the internationals and available for Liverpool,” added Ferguson.

“People say our performance was careless and we underestimated our opponents and maybe there’s an element of truth in that. I certainly wasn’t happy, even in the first half I could sense we were too relaxed and could have lost three goals in the first half. We could have scored goals as well but were too cavalier. We’re attacking in the way we’re playing at the moment and people can enjoy it but we have to do better defensively.”

United begins the match hot favourites to record a sixth victory in seven Premier League matches this season, but supporters will recall Norwich’s 2-0 victory over the Reds on the last occasion these sides met in April 2005. And in Cleverley’s continued absence Ferguson will again ask Brazilian Anderson to take the creative burden in central midfield, alongside either Darren Fletcher or Michael Carrick.

Anderson’s average performances against Chelsea, Stoke City and then FC Basel have brought fresh question marks over the midfielders ability to perform the role but the Brazilian is looking forward to Norwich’s visit this weekend in a game United must win.

“It doesn’t matter who you play in the league, you always have to play well,” Anderson told United Review.

“I haven’t seen much of Norwich, but I know they are a strong team who will come here and battle. Whenever you play at home you have to perform and we are always confident at Old Trafford in front of our fans. It’s important to be strong at home and our record has been amazing for a long time now. You feel more relaxed, more comfortable when you’re at home and you have that extra spring in your step. It’s important we show that on Saturday and keep our good run going.”

Meanwhile, visitors’ manager Lambert is hopeful of achieving the shock result of the Premier League season to date, although the Scot is missing on loan defender Ritchie de Laet, who is ineligible to play against his parent club. Striker James Vaughan is out for four months after knee surgery, while Zak Whitbread, Elliott Ward and Dani Ayala are all out.

“I hear people say go and enjoy it but you can only enjoy it if you go and can hold your own,” Lambert said.

“In my view, Manchester United are probably the best team in Britain at the minute and along with Barcelona one of the best teams in Europe. That is the magnitude of our achievement in getting into this league. No-one is going to expect us to win anything there. The lads will love the atmosphere and the stadium and we’ll go up there and give it everything we’ve got.”

Effort alone will surely not be enough. But, then, most supporters felt the same of Basel’s visit on Tuesday.

Match Facts
Manchester United v Norwich City, Premier League, Old Trafford, 3pm, 1 October 2011.

Likely Line-ups
United (4-4-2): de Gea; Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Fletcher, Young; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: Lindegaard, Amos, Fabio, Fletcher, Fryers, Pogba, Valencia, Carrick, Diouf, Giggs, Park, Welbeck, Berbatov.Owen.

Norwich (4-5-1): Ruddy; R Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Naughton; Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Fox, Bennett; Morison. Subs from: Rudd, Crofts, Surman, Vaughan, Holt, C Martin, Francomb, Naughton, Jackson, Lappin, Smith, Wilbraham.

United: DWWDD
Norwich: LLLWW

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: S Long, A Watts
Fourth Official: C Foy

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  1. RobDiablo says

    I am struggling to recognize the names of any of Norwich’s proposed starting XI. Surely, their only option is to get ten men behind the ball, try not to get overrun, and convert all of the few chances to score they will have. Oh wait, Anderson is playing for United.

    When you mentioned his “average performances”, did you mean average for him or average for midfielders in general. If the latter, I think you’re being unfairly critical of the effort put forth by most midfielders in the league. Then, to make matters worse, you quote him. The only quotes from Anderson that I want to read will be in regard to how much he enjoyed his time at United and how excited he is about the prospect of playing in La Liga or Seria A.

  2. ltel says

    Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez start up front for Manchester United against Norwich, while Jonny Evans is in for Rio Ferdinand and Anders Lindegaard replaces David de Gea in goal.

  3. ltel says

    Lindegaard, Valencia, Jones, Evans, Evra, Park, Fletcher, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: De Gea, Ferdinand, Owen, Berbatov, Giggs, Carrick, Welbeck.

    valencia at right back again

    • RobDiablo says

      This is the kind of lineup that gives visiting sides hope. Park starts on the left, Young not even on the bench – FFS!

  4. han says

    funny how that fat cunt puts more effort in his interviews than he does in the 90 mins when on the pitch
    box to box midfielder my cock
    more like box of chicken & fries

  5. han says

    he had an “average” game at stoke and was poor against chelsea and virtually watching the game on tuesday nite
    that makes 3 games not 1
    he can be so much better

  6. han says

    Commenter said:
    Where on earth is Young? did not stand his first hairdryer maybe..

    doubt he got the hairdryer
    plenty of others in the queue for that on tuesday nite

  7. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    The ground looks like Old Trafford, but surely this is last year’s away form. The passing of Park and Anderson is killing United’s attack.

  8. han says

    SAF needs to bring out 2 dryers at h/t
    no spark at all ffs
    last week, we missed rooney
    this week, its young
    fucking grow a pair

  9. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    The problem is we have a midfield devoid of clever ideas… Scholes would have opened these cunts up like a tin of beans.

  10. Sidsidney says

    Really need a fucking midfielder to have a crack from distance

    Norwich know none of them will hit it and they’re mopping up in the box comfortably

  11. bman says

    I’m so glad we didn’t buy Sneijder, or we wouldn’t get to enjoy this unstoppable midfield combo we’ve got.

  12. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    bman said:
    I’m so glad we didn’t buy Sneijder, or we wouldn’t get to enjoy this unstoppable midfield combo we’ve got.

  13. bman says

    It certainly looks like it was Cleverly and not Anderson who deserves credit for our exciting early season form. We’ve resumed regular service now though, the same dreary midfield shite as the past two seasons.

  14. Sidsidney says

    bman said:
    It certainly looks like it was Cleverly and not Anderson who deserves credit for our exciting early season form. We’ve resumed regular service now though, the same dreary midfield shite as the past two seasons.

    No, right… You can’t deny the top footbal Anderson has played

    The vision, movement, quick one touches etc. He did that, he pulled it off. It wasn’t because Cleverley was also on the pitch FFS. I don’t deny that he plays better with a quick talented football like Clev though.

    It’s really not the midfield that is the problem today either. There is no midfield. All the football is being played on the edge of their area.

  15. bman says

    An early goal by Roo or Hernandez should open the floodgates. Speaking of which, I need a shorter nickname for Hernandez, other than chicarito. Chicarito just seems a bit shit as a nickname.

  16. bman says

    It does seem like we are pinning them back right against their goal now though. This is exactly the sort of situation Sneijder would have been invaluable for — unpicking tight, organised defences, or shooting well from distance.

  17. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    The bitters 1 up.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  18. bman says

    Don’t know why he took Nani off. He hasn’t looked great, but he always has the ability to pull something out of the bag.

  19. bman says

    These guys have nothing to lose, they’re just going to go at us for the last ten minutes, and they might well get something. We ought to be shutting them out of the game altogether, the whole team’s looked very listless today.

  20. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    bman said:
    Fucking hell. With a bit of quality up front Norwich would be beating us. They’re a tidy side.

    They’re shite!

    And that tells you just how rubbish we’ve been.

  21. bman says

    Yeah, very laboured performance, we made hard work of that. Terrific play by Welbeck for the second goal though — he made it and finished it nicely. I’m telling you I think I’d start him over Hernandez based on current form.

  22. Sidsidney says

    Shocking, but did the job

    The defence is lacking confidence thanks to injuries and tinkering, and they’re not helped by a midfield that doesn’t press

    We’ve definitely hit a rut post-being ace, so long as we keep winning we’ll be reet

  23. han says

    woeful display when you see the quality of those in red shirts compared to the working men of norwich
    fucking grow a pair of balls collectively before the scouse game otherwise it is going to be a long hard autumn

  24. bman says

    The return of Vida and Cleverly will give us an injection of energy and bollocks. Would be nice to have the twins back too. I don’t know about Evra though, he’s showing no sign of returning to his best.

  25. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    I used four different streams yesterday, but they were all crap – kept going into stop-start mode, so, later, I downloaded the match and watched it again. I need to add Nani and Rooney to the list of players whose passing was killing United’s attack, but there is really no need to single people out in this match; very few of United’s players played well. Once again, they were sluggish and sloppy, and, this time, also very naive in their tactics.

    For only the second time this season, United were facing a side that did not attack in numbers, but United “counterattacked” in exactly the same way as they have been doing, and, until they finally scored from a corner, all of their offensive efforts died as players ran into cul-de-sacs or had their passes and crosses intercepted or cut out by a well organized defense which always seemed to have at least nine men behind the ball. Rather than be in too much of a hurry to score, United should have emulated Barcelona and retained possession, moving the ball quickly back and forth from one flank to the other until an exploitable gap appeared.

    On the plus side, while only Arsenal could compete with United for the number of games missed by their first team through injury, United remain unbeaten and on top of the table.

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