Manchester United recorded their first away win of the Premier League season as they saw off Norwich City 3-1 at Carrow Road on Sunday. Goals from Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were enough for a comfortable victory, and the winning margin would have been bigger were it not for two penalty saves by the Canaries’ keeper Tim Krul.
An action-packed first half started ominously for United, who could’ve been behind within six minutes. Swashbuckling full-back Max Aarons burst into space down the right and pulled back for the on-form Todd Cantwell, but, ghosting in at the far post, the young midfielder could only spoon his shot over the crossbar.
It proved United’s only real scare of the entire opening period, and it wasn’t long before they started to dominate. Krul had already made a world class save to deny Martial by the time McTominay opened the scoring midway through the opening period, swivelling on a loose ball in the box and rifling home with impressive instinct.
Six minutes later, United were awarded their first penalty after what seemed a fairly innocuous coming together. Daniel James and centre-half Ben Godfrey both ended up on the floor after chasing down the ball, and after a lengthy VAR referral, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. If Norwich supporters thought the decision was harsh, they’d have felt justice done by the ensuing kick, as Rashford’s tame, central effort was kept out by Krul.
However, it took less than two minutes for Rashford to make amends for his miss, as he brought down a brilliant, lofted James pass over the top of the Norwich defence and slotted home.
By halftime, Norwich were lucky to be only two down. Three minutes before the interval, the referee was left with no choice but to point to the spot a second time, after Cantwell’s flailing arm blocked a wild Fred strike from the edge of the box. Krul, however, made his second penalty save of the afternoon, with another meek effort -- this time from a quiet Martial -- kept out.
The Canaries had a chance to claw their way back into the game within minutes of the restart, when Aarons delivered a low cross into Teemu Pukki at the near post. However, the Finn’s powerful first-time effort flashed just wide of David de Gea’s goal, and United maintained their advantage. The Reds could’ve put the game beyond all doubt a few minutes later, though Martial was denied by Krul at the end of a quick counter-attack spearheaded by the impressive James.
It took until into the final 20 minutes, but eventually United did kill the game off. A smart backheel from Rashford played Martial in behind the Norwich defence, and the Frenchman’s artful dink from a tight angle cleared Krul and found the bottom corner.
United should’ve kept their clean sheet, and would’ve if not for some inexcusably lazy defending with two minutes left. A momentary lapse from McTominay saw him caught in possession by Onel Hernández, who burst past two disinterested United bodies before stabbing past de Gea. It was only a consolation, but a frustrating one at the end of that rarest of things: a comfortable United win.