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Manchester United vs Norwich City – Predicted starting XI

by Tom Newbold

Manchester United face Norwich City in a revenge mission on Saturday after the Canaries were the last team to beat United in the Premier League back in November. In terms of player selection, most players will be fresh after a week without any midweek fixtures. Nevertheless, Sir Alex Ferguson will surely be keeping in mind the Real Madrid match on Tuesday when picking his team.


David de Gea – The Spaniard was voted the fans player of the month for February and has been looking confident and assured in goal in recent games, a good sign.

Rafael – Although unlikely to repeat his wonder goal from last weekend, another confidence-boosting performance for Rafael on Saturday would do him no harm at all.

Jonny Evans – Evans missed out on selection last weekend at QPR and will be bursting to return to the action against Norwich. He will probably come in for Rio Ferdinand who is likely to be rested for the coming week.

Nemanja Vidic The Serbian is unlikely to feature against Madrid because of his diminishing pace and inability to play too many games in a short period of time. An appearance for the captain against Norwich then is more than likely.

Patrice Evra – From January to May of last season Evra only missed two games and will probably feature in a similar amount of fixtures this season. The Frenchman appears to rarely need a rest.

Nani – Nani is one of the men of the moment for United at the moment and will be looking for the opportunity to continue his good form up against Norwich. His impact could well be vital after poor delivery from the wings cost United at Carrow Road earlier in the season.

Michael Carrick – Carrick is the obvious option to start in central midfield being the stalwart of the side he is. Should there be a surprise and he is rested then Anderson may well be given an opportunity, but Carrick is undoubtedly the favourite to start over the Brazilian.

Tom Cleverley – After a mostly busy winter period, Cleverley has been used sparingly in recent weeks. His dynamism could well be key in this fixture however and game time is certainly likely for the 23-year-old after nearly two weeks without any minutes on the pitch.

Ashley Young – The left-sided position is probably a toss-up between Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa with both ideally needing minutes ahead of potential selection against Real Madrid. Ferguson is likely to go with the more orthodox Young with the option of calling on Kagawa later into the game.

Wayne Rooney – A game here for Rooney appears essential if he is to get into a playing rhythm before the tie against Madrid. His presence could bring some of the energy and creativity that United missed at Carrow Road in November.

Robin van Persie – Ferguson revealed today that van Persie has recovered from a hip injury, making it likely he will start against Norwich. Should the manager choose to protect him from a start however, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are more than able replacements.


A variation of 4-2-3-1 can be expected for this fixture, with van Persie likely leading the line and Rooney playmaking behind him. A good performance out wide from the wingers will be essential if United are to penetrate the Norwich defence successfully.

No doubt some of the team selection will be dependent on what Ferguson has in mind for future matches too, but focus and tactics will still need to be spot on in order to overcome Norwich. Quick movement and passing may well be the solution to disrupting Norwich’ organisation, hence the likely inclusion of Tom Cleverley.

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