MX23RW : Monday, September 24 22:00:34
Apr 26, 2014 at 5.30pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Man UtdManchester United
4-0
NorwichNorwich City
Rooney (41' pen., 48'), Mata (63', 73')
Evra (65')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Howson (29')

Preview: Manchester United vs. Norwich City

Sports Mole previews Man United's first game since the sacking of David Moyes as Ryan Giggs and his team host relegation-threatened Norwich City at Old Trafford.

The seeds of doubt grew too big for Manchester United's owners this week as they pulled the trigger to end David Moyes's miserable 10 months in charge of the club.

The Scot's size 10s proved nowhere near big enough to fill the gigantic shoes left by Sir Alex Ferguson, who chose the former Everton boss as his successor last summer, with a 2-0 loss to the Toffees the final straw.

Whether anybody can in fact every truly replace Ferguson is unlikely, but the man in the dugout against Norwich City this Saturday evening is nearly as passionately adored among the Old Trafford faithful.

United's record appearance maker Ryan Giggs, who has made 962 appearances and won 23 major trophies during a 24-year career with the club, has been named interim boss for the rest of the season.

The Welshman is not believed to be considered a contender for the permanent vacancy, with outgoing Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal and Real Madrid chief Carlo Ancelotti currently leading the running.

Giggs, though, will be determined to end a Premier League season of unwanted records, fly-by protests and humiliating defeats on a high with a positive return from the club's remaining four matches.

With Champions League qualification out of their reach, the 40-year-old cannot undo the damage done throughout the Moyes tenure, but can salvage pride and re-enthuse fans if he delivers on his promise of "going back to playing like Manchester United", made during his first training session in charge.

His opposite number this weekend has only 15 more days of senior managerial experience, with Neil Adams yet to pick up a point since taking the hotseat following the sacking of Chris Hughton.

Good performances in defeats to Fulham and Liverpool mean nothing to the Canaries at this stage of the season as they hover perilously above the drop zone with United, Chelsea and Arsenal still to play.

They could be in the bottom three by the time that they kick off in Manchester, with Fulham having the opportunity to wipe out their two-point cushion when they host Hull City on Saturday afternoon.

Adams has been applauded for employing a more adventurous approach than Hughton, but should be wary about naming two up front for their trip to a United side who are sure to play without shackles.

He could still name an unchanged side, though, with Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass operating with more defensive responsibility from wide roles and Leroy Fer dropping deeper to tighten the midfield.

Joseph Yobo is still sidelined, and with club captain Sebastien Bassong out of favour under the new regime, Russell Martin and Michael Turner could continue in the centre of the visiting defence.

Giggs is unlikely to name himself in the United squad, and will probably look to inject some more pace into an attack that has been pedestrian at times this campaign. Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck could be selected on the wings, with Juan Mata playing in behind Wayne Rooney.

Robin van Persie and Rafael remain injured for the soon-to-be dethroned champions, while Patrice Evra is also a doubt and may not be risked, allowing Alexander Buttner a rare start at left-back.

Norwich have lost their last four top-flight matches, and their last three meetings with United.

Recent form

United: LWWLWL

Norwich: LLLLWL

Possible starting lineups

United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Evans, Buttner; Carrick, Fletcher; Welbeck, Mata, Valencia; Rooney

Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson; Redmond, Johnson, Howson, Fer, Snodgrass; Hooper

Sports Mole says: 3-1

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Man United manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the match against Arsenal on November 10, 2013
Read Next:
Moyes: The writing has been on the wall
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