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Norwich City 1-0 Manchester United: Player Ratings

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Norwich City pushed Manchester United off the top perch of the Premier League table by pulling off a surprise 1-0 win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at Carrow Road. A 60th minute header from Anthony Pilkington sealed the result for Norwich with United being nowhere near their attacking best on the evening as Robin van Persie struggled to perform in the absence of Wayne Rooney’s support.

Norwich put in a superb defensive performance and stuck to pushing forward only on counter attacks. Javier Garrido made a darting run down the left wing before working a cross to Pilkington who comfortably headed the ball past Lindegaard in the second half.

United had entered the match as favourites but a resilient Norwich side cost the Red Devils a vital three points in the title race. Champions Man City have now taken pole position in the Premier League as they have one point more than the Red Devils. United will set their sights on next week’s league clash against QPR, with their mid-week fixture against Galatasaray being rather inconsequential since they have secured progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League. (Click here for the Match Report)

Norwich City:

John Ruddy: 8/10

The Canaries stopper was in spectacular form and he produced a series of stunning saves to earn a remarkable clean sheet against the Red Devils.

Steven Whittaker: 7/10

The right-back was particularly effective in controlling Ashley Young and Patrice Evra when they came charging down the left wing.

Sebastien Bassong: 7/10

The French defender gave Van Persie and Hernandez little breathing room although he nearly made a mess of the game when he headed a Van Persie corner towards his own goal, only for Ruddy to produce a fine save.

Michael Turner: 8/10

The Englishman put in a strong performance in central defence, partnering Bassong well to allow United’s forwards little opportunities down the middle.

Javier Garrido: 9/10

The Spaniard played confidently against Valencia, allowing the Ecuadorian little space to work in his crosses. He also contributed to attack occasionally, even making the cross that resulted in Pilkington’s goal on the evening.

Robert Snodgrass: 6/10

The winger was fairly decent on the evening although Evra comfortably dealt with him for most of the game.

Anthony Pilkington: 8/10

The midfielder was Norwich’s biggest attacking threat on the evening and had a good number of attempts at goal. His efforts were duly rewarded when he scored the winner with a calculated header in the second half.

Alexander Tettey: 6/10

The Englishman conducted the midfield play fairly well although he did not contribute greatly to attack.

Bradley Johnson: 7/10

The winger constantly charged down the left wing to trigger the counter-attacks when Rafael pushed forward to attack.

Wes Hoolahan: 6/10

The Irishman was slower than usual and created only a few chances for Norwich on the evening.

Grant Holt: 6/10

The striker failed to find his rhythm and his shooting was rather lacklustre although he came close to scoring in the first half only to be denied by Smalling. He did hold the ball up well though and hustled the United players on the ball.

Substitutes:

Jonny Howson: 4/10

The midfielder came on at 83 minutes and had a wonderful opportunity to add a late second goal for the Canaries but pulled the ball too far wide after being released clear of the defence by Morison.

Steve Morison: 7/10

The striker replaced Holt with 7 minutes to go and continued with Norwich’s counter-attacking strategy, even setting up Howson for a clear chance to earn a second goal.

Elliott Bennett: N/A

The midfielder replaced Snodgrass in the dying minutes of the game and barely had a chance to make any real impact on the game.

Manchester United:

Anders Lindegaard: 5/10

The United stopper looked sluggish on the evening and made quite a few errors on the evening although he was fortunately not punished for those.

Rafael: 6/10

The right-back was an attacking threat as usual although he failed to control Garrido’s forward runs.

Chris Smalling: 7/10

The young Englishman was United’s best man in defence and even made a crucial block to deny Norwich a first half goal.

Rio Ferdinand: 6/10

The United veteran played an able compatriot to Smalling in central defence although he was slow to get off the mark on several occasions.

Patrice Evra: 5/10

The Frenchman pushed forward constantly leaving the right wing slightly exposed. His attacking runs failed to yield results as Whittaker put in a spirited performance.

Antonio Valencia: 4/10

The right winger failed to work in any effective crosses past Garrido and often held the ball too long for his few crosses to have any real threat.

Michael Carrick: 6/10

The Englishman genuinely attempted to control midfield play although he could not work any effective passes past Norwich’s resolute defence.

Ryan Giggs: 4/10

The midfielder was rather slow in midfield and could not assist much in attack as Norwich kept a controlled defensive line.

Ashley Young: 4/10

The left winger was kept in check by Whittaker and made little difference to the game from his few crosses.

Javier Hernandez: 3/10

The Mexican looked ineffective having made a start after weeks as United failed to find any opportunities to get behind a Norwich defence which sat deep.

Robin van Persie: 4/10

The Dutchman could not convert his few chances as Norwich defenders marked him closely all evening.

Substitutes:

Paul Scholes: 6/10

The experienced midfielder brought some stability into United’s play although he was rather rash in a challenge on Ruddy and was lucky to escape without a booking.

Danny Welbeck: 6/10

The young forward showed some real attacking threat after coming on at 68 minutes although United failed to find an equalizer.

Anderson: 5/10

The Brazilian replaced Ferdinand late in the game as Ferguson desperately attempted to find an equalizer before the final whistle.

(Click here for the Match Report)