Manchester United could make it two away wins in a row on Sunday at Carrow Road. Here’s everything that you need to know ahead of the match.
(1) Seven months (232 days!) of road woes ended on Thursday with Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade. Still, the match highlighted what’s become a worrying trend for the Reds: an utter inability to create chances from open play. Yes, Brandon Williams deservedly won the penalty that Anthony Martial coolly converted, but spot kicks seem to be the only way that United can score at the moment. They’ve managed just one shot on goal in the last 180 minutes in the Europa League — and that was Martial’s penalty.
Is it illegal for Manchester United to score more than one goal?— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) October 24, 2019
(2) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stuck with three at the back on Thursday after his tactical wrinkle upended Liverpool at the weekend. Some wondered whether that was just to numerically match up with Liverpool’s attacking troika or if it heralded a full-blown formation change. Based on the Partizan match, perhaps it’s the latter.
(3) Even the most pessimistic fans didn’t expect Manchester United to be 14th — only two points above relegation — at this stage of the season. Much like the Newcastle match earlier this month, United cannot allow this opportunity for three points to slip from their grasp.
(4) David De Gea didn’t travel to Serbia for Thursday’s match, but should be back for the weekend. The Spanish keeper surprised everyone by suiting up against Liverpool last weekend after suffering a thigh injury while on Spain duty. Ole updated DDG’s status before the Partizan match:
David will be ready for Sunday, but we didn’t take the risk of traveling with him.
(5) The news on Paul Pogba, though, is not so good. When asked if the midfielder might play at Norwich, Solskjaer answered with a terse no. He also declined to speculate on a possible return date. It doesn’t sound like Pogba will be back anytime soon.
(6) Barring a surprise Luke Shaw recovery, Brandon Williams seems a far stronger option at left back than Ashley Young. Williams dazzled in Belgrade, earning Man of the Match honors and plenty of praise from the manager. It’s early days still, but he looks a perfect fit in Solskjaer’s new 3-5-2.
Whisper it, but Williams might just be the end of Shaw. #MUFC— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) October 24, 2019
(7) Norwich City only have two wins this season — one of which was a 3-2 shocker over Manchester City at Carrow Road. Losers in five of their last seven league matches, Daniel Farke’s side is finding life back in the top-flight to be much harder than expected.
(8) Norwich are tied with Watford for the worst defense (21 goals allowed) in the Premier League. Those defensive struggles come partly from Farke’s gung-ho attacking style, but also from youthful naïveté at the back. Max Aarons (19), Ben Godfrey (21), and Jamal Lewis (21) all regularly start in defense. Even this toothless United side should be able to find a way through Norwich’s shaky backline.
(9) Last time out, though, the Canaries kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth. Farke somewhat tempered his tactics in that one, after months of Premier League opponents exploiting the space left behind when his fullbacks bombed forward. Farke won’t just abandon the high press or patient buildup play, but expect a slightly more conservative approach on Sunday.
(10) If Norwich play their traditional style, Manchester United should be thrilled. It plays right into Solskjaer’s hands and would allow Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Daniel James to use their speed on the break. If Farke opts to sit back, it could be another long day watching United try to break down a team in the low block.
(11) On the offensive end, Norwich match Manchester United with ten goals scored. That’s miles worse than last season, when the Canaries romped through the Championship with 93 goals scored. The combo of Emiliano Buendia on the wing and Teemu Pukki up top carved apart Championship defenders en route to the league title. That has mostly dried up in the Premier League, although Pukki has already scored six times (including a hat trick) this season.