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Premier League preview: Manchester United v Norwich City

Manchester United will aim to tighten their grip on the 2012-13 Premier League title when they face Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Red Devils are a runaway freight train at the top of the table and, with a 12-point lead 11 matches out from the end of the season, are in an almost indomitable position in their pursuit of a record 20th league crown.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have been a force of nature, having not lost a match in nearly three months when Romanian outfit CFR Cluj stunned them 1-0 at Old Trafford on December 5 in the Champions League.

Their last defeat in the Premier League came on November 17 – coincidentally against their next opponents Norwich at Carrow Road.

That stat is sure to give the Canaries confidence heading into this encounter as they try to hand United their first loss in the league in 106 days.

Norwich have been in reasonable touch of late and are undefeated in their past four Premier League outings.

They are fresh from a fantastic 2-1 win over sixth-placed Everton and before that registered draws against Tottenham and Fulham but would have been disappointed with their 0-0 stalemate against bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers at the start of the month.

But like for most teams, United’s fortress Old Trafford has proved to be a rough place to pick up points from for Norwich.

The Canaries last got a result there in December 1993 when they held the Red Devils to a 2-2 draw and their last win at Old Trafford came more than four years earlier in the form of a 2-0 win in August 1989.

Norwich’s task will be made a bit easier by the fact that star United striker Robin van Persie will miss the clash due to a hip injury sustained after he collided with a camera last weekend.

There are also suggestions that, given United’s huge lead in the league, Ferguson could be tempted to rest the vast majority of his best 11 in preparation for their vital second-leg round-of-16 Champions League fixture with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

If that were to happen, the Canaries would receive a huge leg-up and might even fancy their chances of snatching a rare win at the 19-time champions’ home and complete an unlikely double against them this season.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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