Man United can lay down a big marker for fourth place by beating Norwich on Saturday.
Man Utd can close the gap on fourth place to a single point ahead of the huge game at the Etihad tomorrow when City take on Arsenal. For their part Norwich could do with at least a point as they continue their survival fight.
However, its three consecutive defeats without scoring for the Canaries so their chances don’t look great, but they did at least beat United when the teams met earlier this season. Unfortunately for Alex Neil this time he’ll be up against a team in significantly better form. The Red Devils had failed to win in three prior to that meeting – and wouldn’t win either of the two that followed – while scoring just twice as their title challenge fell away. This time around they’ve won six of their last nine matches and while Leicester held them to a draw last weekend they at times looked like the United of old.
The away form is still a problem for Louis van Gaal though, as his team has lost three of their last four on the road and scored more than once in just one of their last 10 road trips. Furthermore, a record of W1-D2-L4 at the current bottom eight is the whole reason they are not safely in the top four. If they’d won all those games they’d be one point behind Leicester with a game in hand but as it is this is a must-win game just to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Current form suggests they are better than that record suggests and in the previous four seasons they went W8-D4-L0 away to bottom-four finishers – they are only W1-D1-L1 to the current bottom four this term.
Norwich have failed to score in eight of 12 matches since the 5-4 defeat here against Liverpool, with seven defeats to nil in that time, and seven of their last 10 games have been goalless at half-time. Their lack of goals looks a major problem against a United defence that has the second best record this season. Furthermore, seven of United’s last eight wins have come to nil and with their top four hopes on the line we should expect another high energy performance that is likely to be too much for the home side.
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