EPL on MultiTV Preview: Manchester United vs. Norwich City
9/30/2011 6:00:43 PM -
The Red Devils have been formidable at home and will be looking to get back to winning ways after having to settle for a shock draw in midweek against Basel in the Champions League. Manchester United will host recently promoted Norwich City on Saturday at Old Trafford. The Canaries have been absent from England's top-flight for six years but they were able to earn automatic promotion after finishing as runners-up in the Championship last season.
The Reds come into the match top of the Premier League table over rival Manchester City based on goal differential. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson's side were cruising in the early portion of the season after scoring 21 goals in their first five league matches -- the result of which was a 100% league record. However, Stoke City earned a point from United last week after a 1-1 draw at the Britannia.
After the tremendous start to the season by United, complacency may have set in -- Fergie hinted as much after the Basel match. Or maybe the numerous injuries to the squad have become a hindrance. The headline injury is most certainly to talisman Wayne Rooney -- a hamstring issue likely keeps him out for this match and possibly next week. Jonny Evans was a late scratch at Stoke with ankle injury and his status for this tie is uncertain. Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) is uncertain also as he suffered a re-occurring dead leg last weekend in the early stages versus Stoke. Chris Smalling has been dealing with a groin issue and although it appears he is close to returning, he may be unavailable also. Captain Nemanja Vidic, Rafael, and Tom Cleverley all continue to be out with long-term injuries.
Norwich City on the other hand have won their past two league ties -- a 2-1 victory over Sunderland last weekend and a 2-1 away victory over Bolton Wanderers in the weekend prior to Sunderland. Manager Paul Lambert has a few injury concerns as well. James Vaughan, Daniel Ayala, and Elliott Ward are all possible to miss this tie due to knee injuries while Zak Whitbread is uncertain with a hamstring injury.
David De Gea has performed well lately as the United No.1 and he is expected in goal. Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones will be the expected center-back duo. If either needs a rest, midfielder Michael Carrick or youngster Ezekiel Fryers are long-shot possibilities to deputise. Patrice Evra will play left-back while Fabio is the most likely right-back -- but Antonio Valencia is possible as well at right-back. With Rooney and Chicharito both possibly unavailable, Fergie may elect to use three central midfielders -- the candidates are Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, Michael Carrick, and Park ji-Sung. Fletcher is likely to start after resting versus Basel and if two are only used in the center of the park, Giggs may be the best guess to partner him. Carrick played the full 90 minutes versus Basel and Ando has been logging heavy minutes thus far this season. If three are used, Park is possible as well. On the flanks, Nani is almost on the right after not starting versus at Basel and the in-form Young is possible on the left. However, heavy minutes for Young may result in Park being deployed on the left with the England international possible as a late-match substitute. Any of Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, Welbeck, or Chicharito are all possible up front.
The 2011/2012 English Premier League is live on MultiTV all season long. Catch the live telecast of Manchester United vs. Norwich City on Joy Sports and Adom TV this Saturday October 1, 2011 from 1.30pm. Kick off is at 2.00pm.