The Tuckster on the weekend’s mauling at Old Trafford…
I don’t blame Chris Hughton for going back to what he knows works – the 4-5-1 formation has strong defensive backbone and that would be required for this visit to the home of the Champions elect.
Unfortunately, it gave us no offensive capability against this quality of opposition.
The only change for City was Pilkington for Becchio. I’ll be honest, I’d have done the same if I was in charge.
We all know that if you are going to win a game like this then Man Utd have to have a real off day and we have to all be at 100%, sadly that wasn’t the case.
For the 4-5-1 to work offensively it relies on the midfield players to get in the box and that just didn’t happen enough (at all).
Time after time Wes Hoolahan found himself with the ball and when he looked up, all he had was Holt out wide.
Snodgrass, usually so good at getting forward was often playing as an extra full back and Pilkington just didn’t seem to be doing much at all. Certainly he was rarely an option for Wes who also often found himself furthest forward.
Johnson and Howson were second best all afternoon against the red shirts in centre field.
The first goal came right on the stroke of half time when Kagawa took advantage of a mis control by Van Persie to scuff a low volley past Bunn.
It was tough on Norwich who had fought hard for the first 45 against a seemingly lack lustre United side albeit without asking any questions of their own in attack.
The second half saw City rally a little at the start of the half without ever showing themselves to be a real threat.
The best moment of the game for The Canaries came when Holt won a header against Valencia, knocking the ball across goal towards Russell Martin – who missed from two yards…
It wouldn’t have counted anyway as the ref saw Holt’s challenge as a push on Valencia saving Martin’s blushes.
And that was as good as it got.
On 76 minutes, Rooney out-foxed Bassong in the box and passed the ball simply to Kagawa who rolled the ball past a wrong footed Bunn.
Then the Japanese midfielder got his hat trick in the 87th minute when he chipped the ball over the on-rushing City keeper.
There was still time though for Rooney to find space on the edge of the City area in the 90th minute when he jinked away from a visibly shattered Johnson to put the ball in the top corner with a peach of a strike.
Norwich didn’t manage a shot on goal to United’s ten.
As I said, I don’t mind going there and trying to keep it tight but at the same time you have to ask them a question or two or you’re looking for a 0-0 at Old Trafford, which is surely beyond us.
Before kick off, I’d written this game off, assuming we’d get nothing from it.
To be fair, Sir Alex picked a strong team and started with Rooney and RVP but even so this display was not good enough, to my mind.
I read a good quote over the weekend that likened this match to a cat playing with a mouse before finishing the little thing off.
Hughton said he was disappointed with the score line and MOTD suggested we’d played well for periods but it was still four nil.
Kei Kamara was brought on along with Elliot Bennett with 20 minutes to go but both brought very little.
A mate of mine, who is Mr Pessimistic reckons Kamara looked out of his depth and Hughton has to go.
I’m more a glass half full guy and would say that Kamara can’t be judged yet, that will take more than 3 sub appearances and Hughton should still be our manager. He has mostly done well for us and we are still in a healthy position.
Next up are Southampton who will eye that match as a winnable game, we also will think that and have to make sure they don’t leave with three points.
Despite this loss at Old Trafford, the rest of the results did us no harm so we are still in reasonable shape.
Although I think we should’ve done better it’s not the end of the world to lose at United. We would’ve all taken a four nil loss there balanced by a One nil win at home when we looked at the fixtures last summer, wouldn’t we?
Keep your glasses half full, gents.