March 15 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Norwich City slipped to a second consecutive Premier League home defeat after Manchester United substitute Danny Welbeck pounced to sink the Canaries at Carrow Road.
Chris Hughton’s squad tested the champions in an encouraging opening half but Welbeck’s arrival at the interval proved decisive when he capitalised on a fortuitous ricochet from Ryan Bennett’s intended clearance to coolly round John Ruddy. City never remotely threatened to get back on level terms following Welbeck’s 57th minute breakthrough against a United outfit missing Wayne Rooney who remained back in Manchester with a groin injury suffered in the Boxing Day 3-2 Premier League win at Hull.
Hughton made three changes to his starting line up from the side who had lost to Fulham on Boxing Day. Bennett replaced the suspended Michael Turner with Russell Martin also back in the fold in place of Steven Whittaker. Wes Hoolahan was deployed in the chief support role to Gary Hooper with Johan Elmander demoted to a bench that included Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Josh Murphy. Jonny Howson was again absent with the back problem that had ruled him out of the club’s festive schedule.
Rooney was joined on the sidelines by Robin van Persie for the Red Devils but in came Javier Hernandez, who terrorised Norwich in the 4-0 Capital One Cup win earlier this season with an Old Trafford brace. Nemanja Vidic returned for the injured Phil Jones in one of four changes made by David Moyes to the team that came back to beat Hull.
United were immediately on the front foot when Shinji Kagawa tested Ruddy from an acute angle in the sixth minute after Ashley Young had rolled Martin Olsson just inside the home half. United’s domination of possession was testing Norwich’s defensive shape with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Kigawa probing for any breaches in defensive lines. Norwich took until the 17th minute to make a significant incursion into United’s penalty area when Robert Snodgrass and Martin cut the Reds wide open down their left with David De Gea parrying the full-back’s initial angled hit and Hoolahan frustrated in his attempts to slot the rebound through Chris Smalling’s last-ditch intervention.
Leroy Fer then glanced a header wide from the resulting corner and Snodgrass lashed a right foot volley into the Lower Barclay after Vidic could only head his initial corner back in the direction of the Scottish midfielder. De Gea batted away Hooper’s strike on the turn from 10 yards with Norwich now growing as an attacking force. Snodgrass continued to be at hub of Norwich’s best work in the final third but his attempted curler on his more favoured left drifted in the terraces. Giggs was then cautioned for tipping up Snodgrass in front of the massed travelling ranks, with Snodgrass’ plea in mitigation cutting little ice with referee Phil Dowd.
Hoolahan and Hooper cleverly combined in central midfield but the Irishman’s ambitious long range strike was dismissively dealt with by De Gea. Fer was next into Dowd’s notebook for halting Patrice Evra in full flight, but Vidic’s near post flick dropped wide from Young’s free kick.
Bassong held off Vidic in an aerial duel of muscular proportions to plant a header straight at De Gea from Snodgrass’ corner following Nathan Redmond’s mazy dribble that had home fans on their feet. Hoolahan then cut back menacingly into the United penalty area but slammed against the thigh of Jonny Evans following a powerful initial surge from Bradley Johnson. Back came United and Kagawa who linked with Giggs but his driven cross was secured by a diving Ruddy who needed to be alert again during the final minute of normal time to foil Hernandez from an acute angle. Martin embarrassed Evra in the final act of the half with a burst down the right and pinpoint cut-back that Snodgrass tamely dragged wide from 25 yards as City left the field to a positive ovation.
Moyes indicated his concern with the half-time arrival of England international Welbeck for the yellow-carded Giggs. Hoolahan’s pivot set Redmond free but again City’s wayward finishing let them down as De Gea watched a 25-yard strike roll wide. Young served up a glimpse of the goalscoring form that had brought two goals in his last three outings with a pacy burst and hit that flew just over Ruddy’s bar.
Hoolahan picked out the unmarked Redmond at the opposite end but his shot swung the wrong side of De Gea’s left-hand upright. United broke through in the 57th minute when Welbeck coolly rounded Ruddy to slot into the empty net after Bennett’s attempted clearance ricocheted against the United substitute and Hernandez to leave Ruddy totally exposed.
Norwich’s number one then gathered Hernandez’s long range tester at the second attempt with United firmly in the ascendancy. Hughton made his first move by introducing Ricky van Wolfswinkel for Hooper which met with a predictably hostile response from the majority inside Carrow Road. United replied with the highly-rated Adnan Januzaj replacing Kigawa moments later. City were struggling to make any impression on the United backline in the final quarter with Moyes’ men looking to close out a sixth consecutive win. Josh Murphy replaced Snodgrass in the 79th minute in a bid to alter the flow and the teenager did announce his arrival with a strike that veered wide after Redmond and Hoolahan had carved a path through United’s midfield, but in truth City never mustered a genuine threat on De Gea’s goal in the entire final quarter of the contest.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, Snodgrass (Murphy 79), Fer, Johnson, Redmond, Hoolahan (Elmander 89), Hooper (van Wolfswinkel 69). Subs (not used): Bunn, Whittaker, Garrido, Becchio.
• Bookings: Fer (foul on Evra, 30); Bennett (foul on Welbeck, 59); Johnson (foul on Evra, 64); Redmond (foul on Evra, 90).
• Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Young, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs (Welbeck 45), Kagawa (Januzaj 69), Hernandez (Fletcher 86). Subs (not used): Lindegaard, Anderson, Fabio, Zaha.
• Bookings: Giggs (foul on Snodgrass, 26); Hernandez (time-wasting, 34); Smalling (foul on Redmond, 90).
• Goal: Welbeck (57).
• Added on time: 3 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffs)
• Attendance: 26,851