By Andy Hyslop
- Rooney, Herrera and Smalling all in contention after training all week
- Young progressing but not fully fit
- Lingard and Darmian ruled out
Manchester United face Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon knowing that anything other than a win will see renewed calls for a change in the dug-out from media and fans alike.
Manchester United have suffered successive defeats to Wolfsburg and Bournemouth. Manager Van Gaal was already under intense scrutiny before these defeats, following a string of 0-0 draws.
Recent games have seen United suffering injury after injury especially in defensive areas, leaving Van Gaal to field defence that consisted of just over 50 senior appearances against Bournemouth.
A win for United could see them closing the gap on those teams above them, with leaders Leicester facing a trip to Everton. While Arsenal and City face each other on Monday night.
A defeat for the Red Devils could see them dropping out of the top four, depending on Tottenham’s result against Southampton.
Van Gaal delivered his injury bulletin to the gather press around dinnertime today. He brought good news for United fans, with the news that Rooney, Herrera and Smalling are all in contention having trained all week.
Ashley Young is strange one, he’s been on the bench in recent weeks including against Bournemouth.
Van Gaal said after that game he wasn’t fit but there has been media reports saying Young is confused as to why he hasn’t had many minutes on the pitch recently.
Van Gaal said that Young is progressing but isn’t fully fit for this game. While Lingard and Darmian have been completely ruled out. Schweinsteiger sits out in the second match of his three game ban.
The returning Rooney and Smalling will probably go straight back into Louis Van Gaal’s starting line-up.
United need experience in the back-line, which could see United playing a back three but I believe Van Gaal will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Varela will probably keep his place at right-back. Daley Blind versatility will probably see him moved to left-back with Jones and Smalling in the middle.
A midfield two of Carrick and Schneiderlin behind a front four of Memphis, Rooney, Mata and Martial.
Norwich returned to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs last season, after finishing in 3rd place in the Championship table. Manager Ales Neil arrived at Carrow Road at the start of 2015 and had an immediate impact.
Norwich haven’t tasted victory in the Premier League since they defeated Swansea 1-0 on November 7. Recent games have seen them drawing 1-1 against both Arsenal and Everton, coming from behind on both occasions.
Norwich currently sit in the last of the relegation places in the Premier League, a win though could move them as high as 14th in the table depending on results of those teams around them.
Norwich will be missing both Andre Wisdom and Matt Jarvis in this game, other than that Alex Neil has a fully-fit squad to choose from.