Playing against United at home is often tagged as a ‘cup final’ by the rival fans, the crowd is louder, and the players are more pumped. Carrow Road was surely up for it and so were the payers, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington troubled the defense throughout the game and out played the Carrick-Giggs central midfield Sir Alex had put in. It isn’t hard to out run a midfield which has a 38 year old winger playing centrally and a Carrick who isn’t known for hustling and is more of a deep lying ball mover. The goal by Pilkington was simply superb and Lindegaard could do nothing about the header. Whilst Holt who has scored 4 goals vs. the Big Four troubled Smalling and Ferdinand every time Norwich attacked and came close to scoring. If Norwich produce the performances they did vs. Arsenal and Manchester United they can surely find themselves above in the table.
2. Sir Alex got the line up wrong.
The consensus when the line ups came out was that this is going to be a long night. Evans and Rooney did not make the team due to injuries and Ryan Giggs started in central midfield. With Champions League qualification out of the way, why Sir Alex opted to play Giggs centrally instead of Anderson or Tom Cleverley is a mystery. A game which needed someone who could compliment the deep lying Carrick with quick and crisp passing in the midfield instead had a player who isn’t the most disciplined central midfielder. Carrick is a good ball passer but not really the best ball distributor. Fair to say, this game can be put down in the list of Blackburn at home and Manchester City away last season when Sir Alex’s team selection has to take some of the blame for the loss.
3. United need Wayne Rooney.
Even with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Chicharito in the team, it was clear that United missed the energy and drive Rooney brings to the team. He may not be scoring the goals but he has been the main man playing in midfield and feeding the players upfront. The strikers will eat only what they’re fed and United midfield failed to do that yesterday. There was barely any chances created centrally and the one clear chance created by Giggs was fluffed by Van Persie. In such games, you need a player like Rooney who can pull in strings from difficult positions and create something out of nothing. Besides being a top class player, his presence in the midfield is irreplaceable and you can tell that they’re missing him the most.
4. Oh conventional winger, where art thou?
From George Best to David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo, fair to say, the wingers that have graced Old Trafford for years only few clubs can dream of. United still have quality wingers in the squad but all of them fail to connect decent crosses or even dare to take on the wide players these days. Young and Valencia completed a poor 5 successful crosses out of 21 they attempted yesterday. Although Young has never been a conventional winger and more like an inverted winger who likes to come in, Valencia’s best traits lie in taking on the player on the byline and put in a decent cross in, unfortunately, his confidence is so low that he doesn’t even attempt to do this anymore. Once Shinji Kagawa is back from his injury, we’d expect Sir Alex to go back to the diamond formation as the 4-4-2 clearly isn’t going to work.
5. They were always going to run out of comebacks
It’s been said countless number of times now, United have gone a goal down 11 times this season winning the game on eight occasions. Sure, they’re the comeback kings and that’s what they do, but a defeat like this was always on the cards and everyone saw it coming. The game looked like a copy of the previous games vs. Southampton or Aston Villa for that matter, only difference being that United failed to pull them out this week as they’ve done in the weeks before. Correct team selection, or not, with the strike force United possess, they should be putting in a much better shift and if they continue to play poor in the first half, teams like Chelsea, City won’t allow them a way to dig them out of the hole they themselves have created in most games.
Written by Redscout