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December 28, 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 26851
D. Welbeck 57'
That will do it for me today guys and girls! I've been Alex Moretto, and I'd like to thank you all for joining me as Manchester United claimed a narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City. Thanks all. Good bye!
Meanwhile, a win for Manchester United moves them into a tie with Moyes' former club, Everton, who play host to Southampton on Sunday.
FULL TIME: NORWICH CITY 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED The Red Devils win their fourth straight league game for the first time under David Moyes, and improve their unbeaten run on the road to 11 matches thanks to substitute Danny Welbeck's second half winner. It was hardly convincing from the visitors, but it's another solid road effort put in by the men in red. Norwich will rue missed opportunities in the first half, but seemed to tire as the match went on. A date with Crystal Palace awaits the Canaries on New Year's Day, as they inch ever closer to crisis mode!
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Chris Smalling
90' + 5'
PHIL DOWD BLOWS THE WHISTLE! That will do it here at Carrow Road! It wasn't pretty, but Manchester United do enough to claim all three points and keep the pressure on the top four.
90' + 4'
The cross is dealt with quite easily, and that will surely be it now!
90' + 4'
LAST CHANCE FOR NORWICH! Murphy and Smalling battling down the left and Murphy wins a free kick from the side of the box. Last chance here!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Nathan Redmond
90' + 2'
Norwich having no success getting the ball forward, as they turn it over yet again and United push forward again and win a corner. They'll play it short again, surely.
90' + 1'
The Red Devils back on the ball, and Nathan Redmond concedes a free kick just outside the box for his tackle on Patrice Evra, and is shown a rather harsh yellow card by Phil Dowd, who hasn't tolerated any nonsense today.
Norwich finally win back possession deep in their own end, and they'll have four minutes of added time to salvage something from the match.
And now a corner for United. They will be in no rush to take this. Meanwhile, Johan Elmander comes on as the final substitution for Norwich in place of Wes Hoolahan.
United keeping possession down by the corner flag, and earn themselves a throw which elicits a roar from the traveling supporters.
The experienced Darren Fletcher is making his return now, as he's brought on for Javier Hernandez to try and milk the final minutes off the clock.
Now Evra is down clutching his head after a collision, perhaps wasting a bit more time for the visitors.
Finally a shot for Norwich. The ball is served up for Murphy who hits his effort with great confidence, but it flies over. It would have required something special to score from there.
You can see why the Red Devils haven't been beaten on the road in ten matches. It may not be pretty, but it doesn't have to be. They're keeping the ball and frustrating the opposition. Time is quickly dwindling down for Norwich.
Norwich pressuring the United ball carriers as much as possible. They're finding ways to win the ball back, now it's a matter of doing something with it.
Another substitution for Norwich, as the 18-year-old Josh Murphy is brought on for Robert Snodgrass. Ten minutes left for the hosts to find an equalizer.
Norwich beginning to get a bit frustrated here. They're struggling to break through this United defence, and the space they were finding down the flanks in the first half has all of a sudden disappeared.
STAT ATTACK: The Canaries have picked up just five points from a possible 15 so far in December.
APPEALS FOR A PENALTY!! Hoolahan is brought down in the box by Evra and immediately players calling for a penalty. Phil Dowd says no, however, much to the dismay of the Norwich players.
Interesting. Sounds like Hooper picked up an injury to his left hamstring. I didn't see anything, but that's the word from the Norwich sidelines.
Meanwhile, it's Kagawa who makes way for Januzaj as Moyes looks to hold onto this lead.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Wow, an interesting substitution from Norwich. It's their leading goalscorer Gary Hooper who makes way for Ricky van Wolfswinkel. With a New Year's Day fixture against Crystal Palace, perhaps Hughton wants to preserve his star striker as much as possible for what could be a six point fixture coming up.
HERNANDEZ! The ball is passed into the feet of the Mexican, who lets fire from outside the box. His shot is stopped easily by Ruddy.
Hoolahan concedes a free kick now to United, much to the dismay of the home fans. The ball is played back and United content on passing it around, forcing Norwich to come at them.
The Welbeck goal has breathed the life out of the match. Norwich are hesitant to press to early and leave themselves vulnerable at the back, while United are content with passing it around and slowing the pace of the match down to a stand still.
Yellow Card Bradley Johnson
STAT ATTACK: The Red Devils have not lost away from home in any competition since they were beaten by Manchester City 4-1 in September - a run of ten games (six wins, four draws)
United enjoying possession now. They look a completely different team than that in the first half.
Yellow Card Ryan Bennett
Hughton's hand might be forced now, as he will likely have to bring on a second striker with his team trailing.
Welbeck continues to create havoc moments after scoring! He bolts through the midfield and Bennett is forced to take him down, resulting in a yellow card for the defender.
Assist Javier Hernández
Goal Danny Welbeck
GOAAAAAAAAAAL!!! WELBECK! An inspired substitution from David Moyes! He dances by two Norwich players before a heavy touch falls to Bennett, but he blasts the clearance right at Welbeck and he's able to break in, round the keeper and slot home for United. It was a fortunate bounce for Welbeck, but some suspect defending from Norwich. Ruddy absolutely livid!
After a cracking start to the second half, the teams have both settled in now and the pace has slowed a bit. Both teams still looking to press forward in numbers when in possession.
Ashley Young playing on the ball with real confidence now. He gets into space again but this time his cross is poor, resulting in a goal kick.
We're getting dearly close to an opening goal here! You can feel it coming, the crowd is absolutely buzzing! Fantastic stuff.
REDMOND NOW!! What a start to the half! This time Norwich break and Redmond is found in space inside the box. He gets a shot off that beats De Gea but sails inches wide of the far post!
YOUNG! He's looked very lively to start this second half! Here he is running at defenders and gets a shot off, but it sails just over.
Finally some life from United! Young delivers a beautiful ball in, finding Kagawa at the far post but he can't chest it down and it's blown dead for a handball. Kagawa really should have done better there.
The second half is underway! Moyes doesn't wait any longer to make a change as Danny Welbeck comes on for Ryan Giggs. Let's see if Welbeck can breathe life into the team in the second half.
Hughton on the other hand will like what he saw from his team in the first half, and has Elmander and van Wolfswinkel at his disposal if he decides to go for it. There is a strong possibility that he will not want to wait as long as possible to tamper with the team, however, and can you really blame him?
You wonder how much longer it will be until Moyes decides to make a change. Injuries have dealt United quite a blow, and perhaps an underwhelming performance was to be expected early on with all the changes to the starting XI. The Red Devils will likely regroup at the interval, but barring a drastic improvement in their performance, expect the introduction of Januzaj, Welbeck or Zaha after 10-15 minutes.
Shots in the first half were Norwich City 11, Manchester United 3. Clearly a gulf in class between the two teams after the opening 45.
HALF-TIME: NORWICH CITY 0-0 MANCHESTER UNITED A fine performance from Norwich City, who have really taken the game over. They will take pride in their performance from that first half, but will perhaps be concerned that they have nothing to show for it. Still, a very poor showing from the visitors who are desperately missing the services of Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia. Luckily for them, they remain tied after being outplayed for 45 minutes. Still everything to play for in the second half.
45' + 3'
That's the last of the first half action as the whistle blows and it's a bit of relief for Manchester United who can get into the room and regroup.
45' + 3'
United can hardly keep the ball for more than 30 seconds! Another turnover, and Martin breaks down the right, beats Evra easily, and pulls it back for Snodgrass who fires wide.
45' + 1'
Chance for Norwich!! They pass the ball into the box nicely, but can't come up with a shot on target. Pressure stays on as they win a corner, but it's cleared yet again by United.
Ashley Young now with a shot for United. It was never going in, but still a sign of life here from the Red Devils in the closing moments of the first half.
STAT ATTACK: Manchester United have won five straight matches in all competitions, for the first time under David Moyes.
Corner for Norwich again now! They've had plenty this half, but like all the others, the header is won by United and cleared. Evans looks to have gotten the worse end of a collision there and the medical staff comes out to check on him.
Hernandez gets behind the two center backs but he's ruled offside. Silly mistake there as he just mistimes his run. Could have been easily avoided. Meanwhile, Ashley Young is hobbling and looks to have maybe picked up a knock. We'll how long he carries on.
END TO END STUFF HERE!! Hoolahan dances his way into the box and gets into a glorious area but his shot is blocked by Evans! Real scoring chance for Norwich! United break the other way and Kagawa gets the first shot on target for them, although it never really bothered Ruddy.
United finally with a bit of pressure of their own, resulting in a Giggs effort that's sent miles over the target. The visitors are still without a shot on target, as Kagawa's earlier ball was counted as a cross. They're missing Rooney desperately right now.
Redmond attacks Smalling now down the left and wins another corner for Norwich. The corner results in an attempt on goal, but it's hit straight into the waiting arms of De Gea.
Free kick is cleared easily and Young breaks out down the left. His ball for Kagawa is poor and Norwich are back in possession yet again!
Yellow Card Javier Hernández
Phil Dowd is trying to keep control over this game, as Hernandez is shown yellow now and Snodgrass with another opportunity to cross the ball in from a free kick.
Fer is shown yellow now for a tackle on Evra. Based on the replay it looks like there was very little contact there, if any. The Frenchman went down quite easily.
Yellow Card Leroy Fer
Despite a surge from Norwich, the visitors are still enjoying almost 65% possession, which is quite surprising actually. Norwich have been the better team so far you would have to say.
Hoolahan tries his luck from about 40? 50? yards out. Real hopeful from the midfielder, De Gea waits and collects.
Norwich upping the pressure! Snodgrass crosses it in three times in succession, but some good defending in the box from United prevents any real scoring chances. Still, the visitors have taken a back seat in the last 10 minutes.
Yellow Card Ryan Giggs
Snodgrass causing all kinds of trouble here for the United defence. He tries to hurdle Giggs, but is toppled over, winning a free kick in a very dangerous area and resulting in a yellow card for the Welshman.
Norwich attacking Evra now down the right flank with plenty of success. Snodgrass has his cross turned aside and it's another corner for the hosts.
Snodgrass finds some space at the top of the box, but his left-footed effort never came close to finding the target and United finally back in possession.
HOOPER!! Again Norwich come so close to the opener!! Martin plays a low cross right to the feet of Hooper who smacks his shot straight at De Gea! United playing on the back foot here!
The Canaries playing with some confidence now enjoying some possession of their own.
Now a free kick for Nowrich from about 35 yards out. Snodgrass whips it into a dangerous area, it's cleared by Vidic right back to the feet of Snodgrass who blasts his volley well over the bar.
That was really a fine save from De Gea. It's shocking how cleanly Evra got beat by Martin. He was caught flat footed and it nearly resulted in the opening goal for Norwich.
Two corners in succession for Norwich who keep the pressure on the United back four! Nothing comes of it, however, and the visitors finally clear the danger.
NEARLY AN OPENER FOR NORWICH!! It should really be 1-0!! De Gea makes a fine save on Martin who blew by Evra, and Hoolahan can't quite get a touch on the rebound as it's turned out for a corner.
The Red Devils have enjoyed over 75% possession in the early stages, but only one real chance to show for it. Norwich are doing a good job of pressing the United midfielders and forcing plenty of negative build-up early on here.
STAT ATTACK: Only Fulham have conceded more than the 31 league goals Norwich have let in this season.
Norwich are trying to press up the pitch as much as possible, despite not having much possession early on. That should result in plenty of space for Kagawa and Hernandez who have looked sharp early on.
We have a bit of a coming together here between Vidic and Hooper! The striker rides the back of the defender, who wins a free kick right up against the by-line. Vidic looked quite annoyed with Hooper after the whistle. It's not a bad idea, that, to get under the skin of the United defenders early on.
FIRST CHANCE UNITED!! The ball falls nicely for Kagawa who tests Ruddy with his half-volley, but the keeper is up to the task and Norwich break the other way...
United passing the ball well early on, with players making some nice runs off the ball.
The pressure will fall on the shoulders of Shinji Kagawa today in the absence of Wayne Rooney. He scored a hat-trick against Norwich at Old Trafford in March of last season.
The Norwich fans singing loud and proud in the early stages here! It really makes for a great atmosphere.
Some fireworks less than 30 seconds in as Hernandez is bundled over by Ryan Bennett, and takes a hard fall on the gravel that lines the pitch.
And we're underway at Carrow road as Manchester United get it started, moving right to left.
The players have taken the pitch and the match is about to start!
Norwich will come into the match with some confidence having won two of three meetings against Manchester United all-time in the Premier League, however, the away team's recent form will have to be a concern for Chris Hughton.
Chris Hughton has made a few changes to his line-up as well after their midweek loss to Fulham. Russell Martin and Ryan Bennett start in place of Steven Whittaker and Michael Turner, who picked up a suspension after accumulating too many yellow cards. Johan Elmander also takes a seat on the bench with Wes Hoolahan taking his place behind Gary Hooper.
NORWICH CITY XI (4-5-1): Ruddy; Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Johnson, Hoolahan, Fer, Redmond; Hooper. SUBS: Whittaker, van Wolfswinkel, Bunn, Elmander, Garrido, Becchio, Murphy.
Plenty to talk about regarding David Moyes' starting XI. Wayne Rooney misses the match with a groin injury, but will be available for the New Year's Day clash with Tottenham. Rafael and Valencia are also out after picking up an injury and suspension respectively midweek against Hull. Vidic returns for them, with Smalling slotting over to right-back, while Michael Carrick starts for the first time since November 10th.
MANCHESTER UNITED XI (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Smalling, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Young, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs; Kagawa; Hernandez. SUBS: Anderson, Lindegaard, Welbeck, Fabio, Fletcher, Zaha, Januzaj
The teams have been announced, so let's have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
After a horrid start to the season, Hughton's side managed eight points from their five league matches heading into Christmas, but a loss at home to relegation candidates Fulham has them ready to press the panic button. A result today would go a long way in boosting the team's confidence heading into the New Year.
The home side comes into this game with a very different view of the table. They sit three places out of the relegation zone, but a bad day can see them drop into the bottom three. Chris Hughton has come under a lot of pressure again after falling 2-1 to Fulham midweek. The Canaries have now lost three home matches this season, after losing just one in the second half of last season. Carrow Road will have to return to the fortress it proved to be last season if Norwich want to avoid a long and stressful 2014.
The Red Devils fell 1-0 last season at this same venue, thanks to a second half goal from Andy Pilkington, but Moyes has his men back to their old ways, winning five straight in all competitions, after failing to win any of their first three league matches in December.
David Moyes has the Red Devils back on track at the moment, and the attack is firing on all cylinders. Manchester United looked eerily similar to last year's championship team as they battled back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Hull City on Boxing Day as they did so many times last season. They will be desperate to pick up maximum points from today's fixture as they look to make up ground on the top four after an unconvincing start to the month.
Good afternoon Premiership fans around the world, and welcome to today's all-important contest between Manchester United and Norwich City at Carrow Road. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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