Manchester United vs Norwich – Statistical Preview

Attention at Old Trafford will no doubt be on Ryan Giggs who has temporarily taken over from David Moyes. Manchester United showed a lackluster performance against Everton last weekend and the players will be hoping to improve for stand-in manager Giggs.

In a game where United enjoyed the majority of possession, they were unable to break down a sturdy Everton defence.  The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that United’s midfield made most of the passes, Fletcher (56), Mata (50) and Carrick (43) but they only made five attacking contributions (assists, crosses and dribbles) between them. 

Wayne Rooney was not in top form against his former club and managed only one shot throughout the whole game, which Tim Howard excellently saved.  Despite this, he is still Manchester United’s top goal scorer with 15 goals for the season.

Everton counter attacked at speed throughout the game, meaning Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were forced to make 11 and 9 clearances respectively but they will both want to improve against Norwich who are likely to throw everything at them on Saturday.

Norwich have everything to play for after a hard fought encounter with Liverpool left them empty handed.  Hovering two points above the relegation zone the Canaries will be hoping to capitalise on United’s current form. 

Norwich gave Liverpool a scare last weekend with two second half goals that pushed Liverpool all the way.  Top goal scorers Robert Snodgrass and Gary Hooper provided the goals and will go into the game with Manchester United full of confidence.  The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows Snodgrass made three attacking contributions (crosses, dribbles, shots and assists), the most in the Norwich side. 

Although playing in a forward position against Liverpool, Nathan Redmond’s biggest contribution was defensively with 10 defensive contributions (tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks) more than any other Norwich player.  He will attempt to play with more attacking intent against United who struggled against the pace of Everton full-backs Baines and Coleman.

Leroy Fer sat in the centre of midfield against Liverpool and made 10 tackles during the game, more than any other player.  With Manchester United likely to want to control possession, Fer will be key in breaking down the play and is capable of striding beyond the strikers and scoring himself.