Norwich City will be desperate to bolster their survival prospects when they welcome top-four hopefuls Manchester United to Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon.
Barclays Premier League
Date: 7 May 2016
Kick-off: 12:45 (GMT)
Venue: Carrow Road (Norwich)
Referee: C. Pawson
Assistants: M. Mullarkey, D. Bryan
Fourth official: K. Hill
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Norwich 50 10 10 30
Manchester United 50 30 10 10
Manchester United 1-2 Norwich City 19/12/15
Man Utd goalscorer: A. Martial (66′)
Norwich goalscorers : C. Jerome (38′), A. Tettey (54′)
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 5, 2016
Players to watch:
Versatile young Norwich winger Nathan Redmond may not have been on the scoresheet as often as his coach would have liked, but the 22-year-old’s electric pace and his ability to pop up in unexpected areas of the pitch could make him a handful.
Striker Dieumerci Mbokani has yet to show the Premiership the quality he frequently exhibited at parent club Dynamo Kiev and Anderlecht, but the burly Congo international could be difficult to deal with in the absence of United’s enforcer Fellaini.
Antonio Valencia was a real thorn in the side of league champions Leicester City last weekend. He finds a way to influence the game regardless of the position he finds himself in when taking possession and has an eye for provided his strikers with scoring opportunities.
Anthony Martial has scored in two consecutive weekends, with the goal FA Cup semi-final winner against Everton being one of his best of the season, not only because of the quality of the finish but also his eye for running into space.
Team form and manager quotes:
Norwich are in, for want of a better term, ‘relegation’ form. Three straight losses – two of these against fellow relegation battlers – and not a single goal in in any of them means that this is the ideal time for an ambitious United to travel to Carrow Road.
However, the Canaries have provided a couple of upsets this season. They took a point at Anfield, the Boleyn ground and at home to Arsenal and Manchester City while providing one of the upsets of the season by beating the Red Devils in the reverse fixture of this match.
“It comes no bigger than this, it really is crunch time now. There is no room for excuses, we’ve got to go out and do the job,” Alex Neil told reporters in his pre-match conference.
“The players know exactly where we are. They gave it their best efforts against Arsenal, and I expect exactly the same this weekend.”
Manchester United, have recovered well since their humiliation at White Hart Lane three weeks ago, winning two on the trot and denying Leicester City an early championship win by securing a well-earned draw.
Louis van Gaal’s men have taken 13 points from their last six matches – not the type of form that will have fellow Champions League contenders too worried, but certainly enough to render them favourites for this encounter.
“We have to win our matches because otherwise we cannot be in the first four – that’s the pressure that we have,” Louis van Gaal said in a press conference.
“We have to fight until the end, and then we have still a title [the FA Cup] to win.
“We have to assess the tiredness of the players because there’s an overload of matches, so maybe I have to rotate. Every week you have something that you don’t like, but I think we can manage.”
Norwich are still awaiting a decision on the fitness of Ryan Bennet (illness). They are still without the services of Timm Klose (knee) and Alexander Tettey (Malleolar).
Marouane Fellaini (suspension) is sitting this one out, while long-term absentees Luke Shaw (tibia fracture) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (ligament) are still unavailable for selection.