An unconvincing Manchester United just about bounced back from two draws in their last two games against Stoke and Basel. An, at times sloppy, side struggled to break through against Norwich and faced a good few scares themselves. However eventually the two goals came and United were lucky to walk away with the three points.
United looked unimaginative and lacked creativity in a disappointing attacking display against the Canaries, something which has been very rare so far this season. Nani, whose form so far has been spectacular, was brought off for Ryan Giggs in the 64th minute after making little impact. Anderson broke the deadlock putting United ahead with a header, apart from this though he lacked the much needed creativity and made little other contribution.
The system United have seemingly been deploying this season of winning the ball in the midfield with a high defensive line failed on numerous occasions throughout the match against Norwich. This meant Norwich were gifted opportunities to hit United at the back and manager Paul Lambert may well be confused as to why his side did not score.
A shoddy attempt from United at defending may have seen them punished were it not for our Man of the Match Phil Jones. The defender, who has really made his mark since arriving at the club, put in a real shift for United.
A pretty open match from the two sides meant opportunity for both to create plenty of chances. Norwich’s main focus of their chances was Steve Morrison who throughout looked like he had the potential to be a threat to United’s goalmouth. Phil Jones, however, was more than up to the challenge of Morrison and kept on his back just as much as Morrison kept on United’s.
Jones made an immediate impact when early on his powerful bulldog-like presence did what Anderson could not and took the ball away from Norwich before marching forward. His pass into Rooney gave the striker a shooting opportunity with which he found Ruddy in the Norwich goal.
Not long after creating the chance for Rooney he looked like the only awake member of the United defence when Bennett broke away for Norwich, it was Jones who was able to intercept and clear the threatening cross from the winger.
Jones again saved United when a slip up from Jonny Evans gifted Morrison a run into the United box forcing Jones to decide between challenging Morrison or sticking with marking Hoolahan. He charged across the box faster than Morrison could get a cross in and closed down the striker’s chance of a successful cross before sliding in and taking the ball away.
Jones played a part in the first United goal. A corner and a combination of three headers finally saw the ball in the Norwich net. Giggs’ corner was headed back in towards the box by Jones to then be nodded on by Rooney in the direction of goal with Anderson providing the final flick to see it into the back of the net.
Jones has looked effective in attack as well as solid in the defence during the start of his career at United. He continued that against Norwich. After moving across the back four from centre back to right back he provided the tricky cross which was nearly touched in by Welbeck.
Jones continued a very strong start to life at Manchester United playing an important part against Norwich. He contributed to a few attacks whilst being the strongest member at the back four, whom without United may have had a big problem on their hands.