Norwich City’s 1-0 reverse at home to Everton on Wednesday evening was another huge blow to the Canaries’ Premier League survival hopes, though City can push their relegation woes to one side this week with the welcome distraction of an FA Cup quarter-final.
Daniel Farke’s men have done exceptionally well to reach the last eight of this year’s competition, coming through early-round ties with Preston, Burnley and Tottenham to set up their clash with Man Utd on Saturday evening.
Norwich City’s German coach faces a selection dilemma of sorts this weekend, however, with a six-point gap between the Canaries and safety still breachable, Farke will need to decide whether it’s worth making wholesale changes for the FA Cup to keep his players fresh for their league responsibilities – though his decision to rest Emiliano Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki in midweek suggests the Canaries should be at full strength.
Manchester United meanwhile, warmed up for their quarter-final tussle with a fine 3-0 win at home to Sheffield United on Wednesday – a result that pushed their unbeaten run to an impressive 13 games in all competitions.
French forward Anthony Martial helped himself to a sublime hattrick at Old Trafford, and the approach play between him, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes was excellent throughout.
The win also provided United with their 10th clean sheet in 13 outings, and with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looking strong at both ends of the pitch, they will expect to beat the Norwich outfit for the third time this season on Saturday.
Does Norwich City stand a chance against the mighty Man United
To sum things up, this is Norwich’s first FA Cup quarter-final since the 1991-92 season, and have been winless in seven FA Cup games at Carrow Road since beating Burnley 4-1 in the third round in 2012 (D3, L4).
Their previous three FA Cup ties this season were all away. They beat Preston 4-2, Burnley 2-1 and knocked out Tottenham on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, Teemu Pukki is without a goal from open play in 14 appearances since 14 December.
Manchester United played some scintillating football on Wednesday evening on their way to dismantling one of the Premier League’s most robust defensive units in Sheffield United, and in truth, the Red Devils could have plundered double their three-goal haul had they been a little more clinical.
United’s superior quality should prove too powerful a force to resist for Norwich City again this weekend. Even without midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes and the mercurially talented Paul Pogba in tow earlier this season, United battered seven goals past Norwich City in their two Premier League meetings with the Canaries.
Solskjaer’s side beat City 3-1 at Carrow Road in October despite missing two spot-kicks and followed that up with a 4-0 triumph over the same team in January in Old Trafford’s return fixture.
While the FA Cup provides United with one of their only chances to pick up some silverware this season, Solskjaer hinted in his pre-match press conference that he will make several changes to his usual XI on Saturday, but with quality in reserve, we think there should be goals on offer for Man Utd again.
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