Norwich City v Manchester United
Carrow Road, Saturday 11th December, kick off 5:30pm

by John Spillane

Bottom placed Norwich entertain Ralf Rangnick's charges, lying in sixth place, in a contest between two sides now operating under new coaches.

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Back on September 25th Dean Smith took his Villa side to Old Trafford and came away with a 1-0 success. Five defeats in the next five games brought his spell at Villa Park to an end, but he quickly was installed in the Carrow Road hotseat, replacing Daniel Farke. A win, two draws and a defeat have followed in his opening four games, which has helped in ensuring that the club are still in with a fighting chance. They are still three points from safety, but level on points with Newcastle and Burnley, rather than being cut adrift already. Having made a start by tightening up the defence, the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham was a set back, though they did have chances through Teemu Pukki, Adam Idah, loanee Brandon Williams (ineligible) and Andrew Omobamidele. The main reason for their plight is a lowly scoring output of eight goals, but Smith has ensured that they get back in position quicker when they lose possession.

The reign of the interim manager at Old Trafford has started quietly. A 1-0 home success over Crystal Palace was followed in mid week by a 1-1 draw with Young Boys. However having ensured progression earlier they were able to send out a side which contained a number of newcomers. The feature of Rangnick's reign has been, to the surprise of very few, intense pressing of the opponents, beginning at the front, and then get the ball to Ronaldo. With Marcus Rashford, Jaden Sancho and Bruno Fernandes supporting it will be left to Fred and Scott McTominay to protect the back four.

The 4-1 defeat at Watford which brought to an end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's time in charge was a shock given United's excellent record away from home, and they should have enough firepower on Saturday evening to pick up another three points.

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