Manchester United edged out Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday, as David Moyes’ men won 1-0 thanks to substitute Danny Welbeck’s second half strike.
The Red Devils were far from convincing in the first half, but Welbeck’s cool finish after the break sealed all three points with his fourth goal in his last four PL games. Norwich huffed and puffed but really didn’t come close to equalizing as the Red Devils held on.
With the win United are just seven points off top spot and sit in sixth, while Norwich are in 14th and just three points above the relegation zone.
United took the early initiative at Carrow Road, as Shinji Kagawa curled in an effort form the left that Javier Hernandez couldn’t quite got on the end of. Soon after Norwich almost scored the opener as David De Gea made a great stop from Russel Martin’s effort but the rebound fell straight to Wes Hoolahan who got his feet all wrong and the chance passed.
That chance gave Norwich plenty of confidence, as the Canaries pinned United back for a prolonged spell in the first half. Plenty of yellow cards were dished out as Ryan Giggs, Leroy Fer and Hernandez were all cautioned by referee Phil Dowd.
United, missing Wayne Rooney though injury, showed little going forward as the first half ended 0-0 with Norwich having 11 attempts to the Red Devils three.
At half time Welbeck came off the bench and within 15 minutes of his arrival the England international had put United 1-0 up with the decisive strike. The ball broke kindly for Welbeck, who calmly rounded Ruddy before slotting home the opener.
Welbeck made the difference after coming on as United pushed for the second and the Canaries wobbled. Norwich tried to get back into things as Nathan Redmond went down in the box but calls for a penalty were waved away by referee Dowd. Substitute Josh Murphy hammered just over the bar late on for the Canaries as the home side pushed to grab a point.
However, Moyes’ men hung on to win by a solitary strike as they recorded sixth-straight wins in all competitions to close out 2013 in style.
Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Fer, Johnson; Snodgrass (Murphy, 79), Hoolahan, Redmond; Hooper (van Wolfswinkel, 69)
Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Young, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs (Welbeck, 45), Kagawa (Januzaj, 69), Hernandez (Fletcher, 87)
Goal: Welbeck (57)