Louis van Gaal’s men are at the moment four points behind Manchester City with one game remaining. However keeping in mind, City facing Arsenal on Sunday, a victory over Norwich could be a huge boost for Manchester United’s Champions League hopes.
Meanwhile, Norwich have a target of their own with recent results having brought down Alex Neil’s team into some serious danger and they will be hoping to make it as difficult as possible for the visitors, particularly with confidence stemming from the sensational 2-1 win at Old Trafford back in December.
van Gaal’s plans suffered big blow following Marouane Fellaini’s three-match suspension for violent conduct with the Belgian having been a key part in United’s successful midfield of late.
Here is how van Gaal could set his team up against Norwich.
Manchester United’s defensive four has impressed of late despite the pathetic marking in the build-up to Wes Morgan’s equaliser last weekend. And van Gaal may not go for any change against Norwich, with Antonio Valencia holding on to his position at right-back.
Chris Smalling and Daley Blind most likely to continue in the centre, with Marcos Rojo at left side, although there have been calls among supporters for United’s new defensive sensation Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to be recalled to the starting line-up.
Marouane Fellaini’s absence in midfield will be a major problem considering his recent displays. The Belgian has become incredibly useful defensively, especially from set-pieces. It’s difficult to predict whether or not van Gaal will revert to playing with two holding midfielders against a side fighting the relegation.
So the best option would be to bring Morgan Schneiderlin back into the side alongside Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney. The Frenchman ties United’s attacking play with the midfield excellently and with the Red Devils requiring a win and van Gaal desperate to make a case to keep his job, bringing in experienced Schneiderlin would make the most sense.
Rooney has played very well since returning from injury with a deep midfield role suiting him as well as allowing Marcus Rashford to thrive in attack. The skipper’s range of passing has actually given Manchester United the occasional out-ball from midfield that breaks away the monotonous ball retention style of earlier in the season.
In the attacking department, Manchester United fans would be forgiven for wanting Martial to be wrapped in cotton wool until the FA Cup final, but the Frenchman is most likely to start on the left flank against Norwich.
Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard will operate next to him through the middle and on the right respectively. Their attacking display has been much more fluid of late and in truth it is mainly because of the partnership this trio has formed with each other.
Van Gaal has to keep an eye on fitness with a mid-week game at West Ham to think about but at this stage of the season, the onus is very much on getting points on the board and putting pressure on Manchester City.