Norwich City v Manchester United: Paddy Davitt’s prediction

All the recent empirical evidence suggests Norwich City will be defensively resolute against Manchester United. But that simply will not be enough.

Only Everton on the opening day of the new Premier League season have prevented Sir Alex Ferguson's men from crossing the threshold. United are the top flight's entertainers on the road. 14 goals scored, five wins out of six since that first day stutter at Goodison Park. Aston Villa tried the opposite tack – an attacking blitz which ran out of steam against a relentless riposte spearheaded by Javier Hernandez.

A striker who would be coveted by every other rival in the Premier League should he ever be put back on the open market, but content to bide his time behind superstars like Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney; with England's Danny Welbeck part of a dazzling cast list. Hernandez may well start this evening after his Villa Park heroics.

Chris Hughton's squad frustrated Arsenal and Tottenham for prolonged periods at Carrow Road during impressive league and cup victories. This United vintage right now just looks a cut above the rest. Norwich can also draw strength from their tussles last season when defeats in both games against United brought scant reward.

City's wide players have a massive role to play. Defensively, they need to offer auxiliary support to quell the Reds' attacking threat down the flanks. Sporadic offensive forays place a high premium on precision in choice of pass or time of delivery. Set pieces could well offer a profitable outlet. Norwich's winner against Stoke illustrated they have quality in abundance.

United have also exhibited defensive frailty without the muscular presence of the injured Nemanja Vidic. 15 goals conceded in their last seven games in all competitions is a worrying trend.

But Norwich will need to eclipse everything that has gone before in this eventful campaign.

Most Read

• Norwich City 1, Manchester United 3