Manchester United vs Norwich Player Ratings

Shinji Kagawa bagged a hat-trick to fire Manchester United to a 4-0 win over Norwich in a morale-boosting win days before their crunch clash against Real Madrid.

Rooney gets the better of Bassong... again.

By FOX Sports Staff

Chris Hughton's men put up a solid defensive performance in the first half but they were undone on the stroke of halftime after Robin van Persie cushioned Antonio Valencia's ball with a deft touch for Shinji Kagawa to score.

Wayne Rooney then took up the role of provider in the second half to set up Kagawa twice - the first was a simple through ball after smart play to turn the Norwich defence inside out and the second was a perfectly-weighted through ball that left Kagawa the simple job of dinking the ball into the net.

The England striker got into the act of scoring himself in the last minute of play with a stunner, cutting in from the left before unleashing a powerful shot right below the crossbar which left goalkeeper Mark Bunn flailing at thin air.

Manchester United

David De Gea - 6

Norwich had zero shots on target. De Gea could have had his hands tied together and still manage to keep a clean sheet in the game. That being said, he deserves credit for being brave enough to collect crosses with Holt bearing down on him in the box.

Chris Smalling - 7

Smalling showed the attacking side of his game by providing marauding runs down the right and whipping dangerous crosses in the box. He looked a little unsteady when Norwich came out of the halftime break bearing down on his flank but held his own well enough.

Jonny Evans - 6.5

Evans had very little to do with Vidic picking up Holt. He only had to make sure no loose balls were played behind the defence. 

Nemanja Vidic - 7

The United skipper had Holt under control throughout the game and limited the big Englishman's aerial ability to nullify the minimal threat Norwich posed.

Patrice Evra - 6.5

Evra 's forays into the Norwich half were frequently foiled by a hardworking Snodgrass, possibly because he lacked a permanent partner higher up on the flank. He had little to do defensively. 

Antonio Valencia - 7.5

Valencia, who was as stubbornly one-legged a winger as they come, deserves credit for using his left foot to set up Kagawa's first goal. Valencia will turn into a truly scary winger if he can continue improving at this rate and send in accurate crosses with both his feet.

Michael Carrick - 8

Carrick put up another masterclass from deep in midfield, dictating play with ease and protecting his defenders with smart interceptions. It was his precise pass down the right which allowed Rooney to set up the second goal. Looks like the terrace chants proclaiming him as the next Paul Scholes isn't that far off after all.

Anderson (Off 74') - 7

The Brazilian impressed in his recent outings but could not replicate the performance this time. He could be playing a few smart passes in midfield before throwing possession away with a poor attempt on goal or a straight pass to the opposition. 

His energy driving up the midfield that pinned Norwich back was his redeeming factor though, and it played a big part in making sure United stayed on the front foot for most of the game.

Shinji Kagawa - 9

Kagawa finally came to life after a debut season blighted by injuries and false starts. Kagawa looked sharp with his movement all around the pitch and he always looked likely to create a dangerous situation whenever he was near the ball in the Norwich half with smart runs and deft passes.

His hat-trick took the headlines but United fans should look at the burgeoning partnership with Van Persie and Rooney as a sign of a bright future for the club's attack - the trio frequently got into one-touch passing combinations that had football aficionados purring.

Robin van Persie (Off 66') - 7.5

The Dutchman made a surprising start following his alleged injury but showed none of the rustiness usually associated with a crocked player. He almost set up Rooney early on with a brilliant pass and got an assist after cushioning the ball for Kagawa's first goal.

Wayne Rooney - 8.5

Kagawa may dominate the headlines but Rooney deserves equal praise for his effort in building up United's attacking play. He was always making sharp passes that linked play from midfield to attack and was key for United to lay siege to Norwich's box.

Rooney's sublime goal late in the game rounded off an equally fine all-round performance which saw him set up two of Kagawa's goals.

Substitutes

Danny Welbeck (On 66') - 7

Welbeck made dangerous runs which were stopped by some desperate defending. The short outing can only do good for the striker who seemed bereft of confidence in recent games.

Tom Cleverley (On 74') - 7

Came on for the erratic Anderson and kept on the energy in midfield.

Norwich

Mark Bunn - 5

Bunn would have felt hard done by his defenders facing the lethal United attack. He did pull off a few saves but could do little for United's goals.

Russell Martin - 5.5

Martin did well in the first half to prevent United's attacks but faded away as the game wore on.

Michael Turner - 5

Turner put in several key tackles in the box that prevented United from creaing more chances.

Sebastien Bassong - 5

The scoreline would certainly have been bigger if not for Bassong's sweeping up the Norwich box with many crucial interceptions and well-timed tackles. 

Javier Garrido - 3

The former Manchester City defender looked vulnerable and did not do well when tested with all three of Kagawa's goals coming from his area. He was frequently overwhelmed when Valencia or Rooney took the ball down his flank and his positioning was suspect.

Bradley Johnson - 4

Johnson looked out of pace against United's flowing passes and was lucky not to see red after lunging in on Rooney in the second half. 

Robert Snodgrass (Off 74') - 7.5

Snodgrass certainly did not deserve to be on the losing side after a hardworking shift down the right flank with many last-ditch tackles and hard runs up int he attack that saw United find no joy at all in the first half. It was only in the second half when United shifted their focus on the other flank that they began to open the game up. 

He was unsurprisingly brought off before the end of the game given the amount of effort he put in during the game.

Jonny Howson - 4.5

Howson had a tough job sitting in front of his defence and he was frequently dragged around by United's movements. There was little he could do to track the rotating runs made by United's attacking line.

Anthony Pilkington - 4

Pilkington was usually the one who created chances for his side but he put in a subdued performance going up against Smalling. He also didn't provide Garrido with enough cover defensively.

Wes Hoolahan - 4

Hoolahan was tasked to track the midfield but didn't have much chance with Carrick dictating the game with intelligent passes.

Grant Holt - 4

Holt was utterly subdued by Vidic and had little impact on the game.

Substitutes

Kei Kamara (On 72') - 5

The Sierra Leone international failed to have the same impact as he had last week when he rescued his side against Everton. He added more energy but failed to get into threatening positions.

Elliott Bennett (On 74') - 5

He came on for the tired Snodgrass but did not have much to do defensively with United focusing their play on the other flank. On the other hand, he didn't contribute much to the attack either.

Luciano Becchio (On 90') - N/A



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