United took the three points but Norwich will rue all the chances they missed, chances that could have given the Norfolk side a surprise victory!
Team News – Sir Alex was able to recall the fit again strike pair of Rooney and Hernandez, Evans was restored to the heart of the defence whilst Lindegaard was given the nod between the posts ahead of De Gea.
United – Lindegaard, Evra, Jones, Evans, Valencia, Anderson, Park, Nani, Fletcher, Rooney, Hernandez
Subs – De Gea, Ferdinand, Giggs, Carric, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck
First Half – Anybody expecting a goal feast was left disappointed in the first forty-five minutes with Norwich City defending as if their lives depended on it.
Utilising two banks of four, United were restricted from creating any clear-cut chances leaving Sir Alex Ferguson to ponder over a few things for his half time speech.
In the opening exchanges, Norwich looked enterprising going forward and one foray saw Bennett do well but unable to pull the ball back to the waiting Morison.
Although United cranked the pressure up possession wise, their only chances of opening the scoring came from a Rooney header, from a corner, that deflected wide off of the head of Martin and a long range effort from Nani that drifted wide of the post.
Half Time – United 0 Norwich 0
Second Half – United started the second half better than they`d started the first but it wasn`t long before gallant Norwich tested our defensive resolve again.
Morison lost Evra and crossed instead of shooting and the danger had passed. Minutes late, a swift passing move saw Fox clear and when his ball to Pilkington resulted in a looping shot Lindegaard just managed to stretch enough to make a save.
Just before the half way mark in the half, Norwich had a glorious chance to take the lead when Pilkington caught Valencia in possession, advanced on goal but curled his effort around Lindegaard and also around the post.
The miss was to prove costly, two minutes later United were ahead. A corner to the far post was headed back across goal by Jones and Anderson netted from inside the area.
United 1 Norwich 0 (Anderson – 68 minutes)
Norwich, to their credit, didn`t buckle and continued to carve out chances. Pilkington saw a shot deflected and then hit the post before bouncing into the grateful arms of Lindegaard.
As the action swayed from end to end, in an open game, Welbeck was inches away from reaching a Jones ball in whilst Giggs, with a great diagonal pass, shot just past the far post.
But Norwich were still persisting with their attempts to get an equaliser and Morison, after exchanging passes with Jackson, couldn`t get enough power behind his shot to seriously trouble Lindegaard.
Thankfully, with three minutes left, United put the game to bed when Welbeck exchanged passes with Park and Park drew the keeper before passing for Welbeck to slide home. It was a goal that was to keep Unite don top of the table!
United 2 Norwich 0 (Welbeck – 87 minutes)
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