English Premiership

Man United stunned by Norwich

2012-11-17 21:41
Anthony Pilkington (AFP)

Norwich - Manchester United spurned an opportunity to regain first place in the English Premier League table when they were stunned 1-0 at Norwich City on Saturday.

Last year's champions Manchester City had moved to the top of the table earlier in the afternoon thanks to a 5-0 home victory over Aston Villa.

And a header on the hour by Norwich winger Anthony Pilkington - a former United trainee - ended up consigning Alex Ferguson's side to their third defeat of the season after only 12 matches.

United were forced to do without Wayne Rooney because of tonsillitis but fellow striker Robin van Persie had been passed fit after missing a mid-week international friendly because of a thigh strain.

Anders Lindegaard kept goal for the visitors, with youngster Sam Johnstone on the bench because David de Gea had to visit the dentist because of a swollen jaw.

The visitors made a bright start, with Van Persie forcing Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy into an early save as Roy Hodgson, the England manager, watched from the stands.

Norwich replied with efforts from Robert Snodgrass and Pilkington that only narrowly failed to hit the target and that was also the case at the other end, where Ryan Giggs's corner was hit first time by Van Persie.

Snodgrass was involved in much of the home side's best moments before the break and fired in a shot on the turn that went wide.

United were lacking urgency although Ashley Young's corner might have led to an opener but Patrice Evra, having got goal-side of his marker, completely missed his header.

Snodgrass once again went close, this time with a header, before Norwich's ex-Manchester City man Javier Garrido fired an angled effort across goal and wide.

Norwich captain Grant Holt was denied an opener by Chris Smalling's timely block after more good work on the right by Snodgrass, but it was United who finished the first half the stronger.

The Canaries were grateful that Van Persie could make no connection at all after Giggs's long ball had dropped over his shoulder in front of goal and Ruddy's reputation was enhanced by another good save, this time to deny Young.

The second half began with Van Persie failing to get the connection he wanted following another ball over the top of the home defence, but he recovered to force Ruddy into a save.

United continued to play at a slow tempo and were punished on the hour mark when they failed to deal with a swift Norwich attack.

Wes Hoolahan teed Garrido up for a cross from the left that Pilkington - having arrived ahead of Chris Smalling - headed high past Lindegaard.

With 20 minutes remaining, United made a double change, with Antonio Valencia and the disappointing Javier Hernandez replaced by the 38-year-old Paul Scholes and Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck immediately saw a header deflected around a post and soon afterwards forced Ruddy into a save with another.

United piled on the pressure to the end and Ruddy had to tip over a header from his own defender, Sebastien Bassong, after substitute Jonny Howson had missed a chance to make it 2-0 at the other end when put through with only Lindegaard to beat.

The final whistle sparked joyous celebrations from the home fans, who have seen their side improve steadily after a shaky start to the season under new manager Chris Hughton.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
16 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS5
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
    05:59
  • SS7
    Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
Vote

How will Manchester United fare in next season's English Premiership under Louis van Gaal?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.