Barclays Premier League
Manchester United vs. Norwich City
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 19 December 2015
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Manchester United suffered back-to-back defeats after losing 2-1 at home to Norwich City.
Goals either side of half-time by Cameron Jerome and Alexander Tettey secured the Canaries first win since 1989 at Old Trafford, and only their third in the past 19 meetings.
Those stats highlight the must-win nature of this fixture for United, and despite Anthony Martial halving the deficit midway through the second half, a fourth league defeat of the season and first at home was encountered.
The first half saw the usual dominance of possession from United but with many promising attacks also, with captain Wayne Rooney finding the back of the net only for Marouane Fellaini to be flagged for offside.
Memphis fired over from 20 yards as Rooney dragged a shot wide after Juan Mata was brought down, where a free-kick would have more than ideal than the advantage.
A rare Canaries attack led to Tettey dragging his effort wide as some neat play from the hosts ended with another Rooney attempt, this time deflecting wide.
Gary O’Neil was booked for a trip on Martial, but with not long to go until half-time, Jerome finished past De Gea inside the box against the run of play.
United probed for an equaliser but the interval came with them trailing.
Things went from bad worse 10 minutes after the restart, with a Norwich break seeing Jerome feed Tettey, and he finished to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Rooney’s acrobat effort went over before De Gea saved from Wes Hoolahan.
Then came a slim lifeline, as Ashley Young’s was missed by Rooney, but Martial was on hand to fire into the roof of the net.
Another testing cross was Young evading everybody before Declan Rudd saved Juan Mata’s free-kick.
The game could have been wrapped up if it wasn’t for De Gea saving well from substitute Youssouf Mulumbu’s effort, as United pushed on for an equaliser.
Despite seeing all of the ball, it took until the 93rd minute for any kind of a glimmer, but Chris Smalling headed wide in stoppage time, with full-time arriving to a chorus of boos once more.
Spoilt by success in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, the fans realise that this will not be the case again, but they expect entertaining football, winning games they should be and at least challenging for trophies.
That simply isn’t the case right now, as the winless run stretches to six games across all competitions despite facing teams they should be dispatching of.
This result drops United to fifth on goal difference which tells its own story, but the defending over the past three games, shipping seven goals, hasn’t been good enough either.
The lack of clear cut chances let alone goals is a worry, with many wondering where the next week is going to come from.
Boxing Day sees a daunting trip to take on Stoke City, with Chelsea the visitors to Old Trafford on the 28th to wrap up a largely disappointing 2015 for the club.
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Smalling, Blind; Carrick, Fellaini (Herrera 60); Martial, Mata, Memphis; Rooney.
Subs: Romero, Varela, McNair, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Pereira.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Norwich: Rudd; R. Bennett, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; O’Neil (Mulumbu 81), Tettey; Redmond, Hoolahan (Howson 66), Brady; Jerome (Mbokani 81).
Subs: Ruddy, Whittaker, Howson, Mbokani, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Odjida-Ofoe.
Manager: Alex Neil