Iwan Roberts: The day I helped frustrate Manchester United... Cantona, Giggs and Keane included
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I would love to be at Carrow Road on Sunday – sadly I’ve got to work Sunday lunchtime at the south Wales derby at The Liberty Stadium.
I've been to two Norwich games this season, both of which they've won, scoring six goals, and with the team scoring just one goal in their last four games I think the lads could do with their little lucky rabbit's foot there - but sadly, no can do.
Villa apart, the lads have been exceptional at Carrow Road and I've a sneaky feeling that after that moral-boosting first away point at Bournemouth they will get back to winning ways against Manchester United, who have had a traumatic start to the season and have yet to register an away league win. In fact, they've won just two more points away from home than Norwich, and come into the game having lost their last two away games, against West Ham and Newcastle, without scoring in either.
I've mentioned before my first ever professional career goal came in a 1-0 win over United while I was at Watford and in the games I played against them at Old Trafford I've only got the one draw to look back on. Mind you, looking back I think I only played at the Theatre of Dreams on a couple of occasions.
The last time I played there was for Leicester in the 1994-95 season when United were going toe-to-toe with Blackburn for the title. I think we were nearly relegated so had nothing to play for and no pressure whatsoever on our shoulders, while Sir Alex's team couldn't afford to drop any points as it would give Blackburn a slight advantage going into the last few weeks of the season.
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We probably put on our best away performance that night under the floodlights and out-played United for long periods of the game. We could sense the pressure they were feeling, even though they had the likes of Gary Neville, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Denis Irwin, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes and the king himself, Eric Cantona, in their starting XI.
They took the lead with the rapid Andrei Kanchelskis firing them ahead on 61 minutes only for us to equalise four minutes later when Mike Whitlow, our left back, headed in a Mark Draper corner.
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We celebrated liked we'd won the league - we hadn't even won the game. They threw everything at us for the next 25 minutes, but could not break us down. Kevin Poole put on one of the best goalkeeping performances I've ever seen - he was truly unbelievable that night and without his heroics United would have scored five or six.
At the end of that season Blackburn won the league by one point. I think Alan Shearer and Co owed us Leicester boys a huge chunk of gratitude as maybe had we not won that point at Old Trafford late on in that season, the title might well have stayed in Manchester.
n Finally the lads won their first, elusive, away point of the season and kept their first clean sheet of the season - their first in the Premier League in 16 attempts!
Their last one came in a 1-0 away win at The Hawthorns on March 19, thanks to a Robbie Brady goal.
Having suffered four consecutive away defeats it was just what was needed and now, hopefully, the lads in the near future can go on the road and bring back their first away win, which mentally will put everyone in a much better place.
Norwich defended superbly at The Vitality and limited Bournemouth to just two shots on target, which isn't easy to do against Eddie Howe's men as in their previous 14 Premier League home games they had failed to score in just two - and one of those was against Liverpool who had the best defensive record in the league last season.
So it just goes to show how well the lads did on Saturday and what a valuable point that was - now they need to build on that when they go on their travels.