Manchester United 4-0 Norwich City - Canaries have an afternoon to forget at the Theatre of Dreams
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Marcus Rashford bagged a brace on his 200th Manchester United appearance to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men thrash Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford.
The England international bagged the opening two goals to inflict more pain on a City side heavily wounded at the bottom of the Premier League table.
Anthony Martial's header and a superb strike from youngster Mason Greenwood condemned City to another defeat. This loss equals Daniel Farke's longest winless run in management.
Farke made one change from the City side who drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace on New Year's Day, with 18-year-old Adam Idah making his first Premier League start at Old Trafford.
Mo Leitner returned from the shadows to feature on the Canaries bench as they searched for their first victory in nine league matches.
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United were looking to respond to the defeat suffered at Arsenal during their last outing and Solskjaer made four changes, with Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Martial among those restored to the side.
City began the game with some encouraging passages of possession, but they failed to make meaningful inroads inside the final third. United looked threatening in their early forays forward, with Andreas Pereira lively on the left-hand side.
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United felt they had a compelling case for a penalty when Martial side-stepped past Zimmermann in the box and went to ground. Anthony Taylor instantly waved it away and the move was worked to Rashford inside the area, but the striker was flagged offside.
The hosts first counter attack came in the 18th minute after Emi Buendia conceded possession on the edge of the United area. Matic drove forward and found Mata in a pocket of space, the Spaniard lofted the ball to Martial on the right, but Grant Hanley defended well and cleared the danger.
City's first venture forward saw Zimmermann break United's press with an impressive pass to Buendia, who controlled and sent Cantwell away on the left. His cross was aimed for Idah, but Harry Maguire cleared.
The Canaries game plan was becoming increasingly evident, with a compact defensive structure designed to soak up the pressure whilst looking to pack a punch on the counter.
That wasn't sustainable as United took the lead courtesy of Rashford.
Mata's whipped cross to the back-post found the England international after some clever movement and he was left to volley the ball home from close-range.
United were asserting their dominance thereafter and with City sloppy in possession, they could construct attacks at regular intervals. City's structure had evaporated and the spaces between positions were sizeable.
City did manage to breakaway after Tim Krul's direct ball was cushioned down by Idah into the path of Buendia, who progressed forward before slotting in Cantwell, whose effort was saved well by David de Gea.
United's dominance continued after the break, with the hosts awarded a penalty five minutes after the interval. Brandon Williams galloped forwards into the area and Krul came racing off his line but fouled the youngster. Replays suggest contact was minimal, but VAR didn't overrule Taylor's initial decision.
Moments later and United scored a third, with the influential Mata at the heart of the move again. His cross found Martial, who found a pocket of space between City's defenders to glance into the net.
United kept pushing, with a neatly worked move seeing Martial find Pereira inside the area who squared the ball for Williams, but the youngster blazed it over the bar despite having an open goal at his disposal.
Idah's day was cut short after struggling to gain a grasp of proceedings - Onel Hernandez replaced the Irishman after 65 minutes.
Despite the afternoon not transpiring in the way Idah would have dreamt, United youngster Mason Greenwood did grasp the mantle.
The ball ricocheted into the youngster's path after a long ball forward, with Greenwood controlling from the edge of the area before driving an effort into the bottom corner.
City had a flurry of late efforts as they attempted to remove some of the shine from United's performance but ultimately, looked a side short of quality and confidence.
- Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (C), Williams; Matic, Fred, Pereira (Greenwood, 71), Mata, Rashford (James, 59); Martial (Gomes, 79). Subs not used: Grant (GK), Dalot, Jones, Chong
- Bookings: Matic
- Goals: Rashford 28, 57 (pen), Martial 54, Greenwood 75
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley (C) (Lewis, 80), Byram; Tettey, Vrancic (Amadou, 65), Buendia, McLean, Cantwell; Idah (Hernandez, 65). Subs not used: Fahrmann (GK), Trybull, Leitner, Stiepermann
- Bookings: None
- Goals: None
- Added on time: 1 mins/ 3 mins
- Attendance: 73, 271
- Referee: Anthony Taylor
- VAR: Darren England