Manchester United v Norwich, Saturday 15:00
– A goal from Ryan Giggs on his 999th professional appearance and a quite stunning strike from Rafael capped an excellent all round performance for Manchester Utd, a 2-0 win which puts the Premier League even more firmly within their grasp.
– Rafael’s superb goal against QPR came as little surprise given his level of talent, although it was slightly against the grain in terms of his general form in front of goal this season. He only has a 57.1% accuracy rate from 14 attempts shots according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index so he’ll be looking to use his wonder strike to kick on to bigger things.
– Man Utd will be hoping the knock picked up by Robin van Persie will prove not to be too serious, given the incredible statistics the Dutchman continues to compile. He’s had a shot on target once every 42.9 minutes, as well as contributing 43 crosses and 11 assists.
– Tom Cleverley continues to demonstrate he has the vision and technique to fill the immortal Paul Scholes’ boots when the great man eventually retires. He’s successful completed one of his 442 passes in the opponent’s half once every 3.1 minutes he’s been on the field of play.
– Rio Ferdinand has been joining the ranks of Man Utd’s ever-green veterans of the game with some of his performances this term. He leads the Utd squad for positive defensive contributions with 133.
– Two late goals from Kei Kamara and Grant Holt stunned Everton as Norwich ran out 2-1 winners in a game which moved them further towards Premier League safety.
– With a mammoth tie against Real Madrid on the horizon and a healthy lead in the race for the Premier League title, Man Utd may be tempted to rest a couple of their key starters this weekend. Should this be the case Norwich must not be afraid to take the game to the Red Devils, and Grant Holt would be key to this strategy. The big frontman has the strong accuracy rate in front of goal of any Norwich player, having seen 62.2% of his 37 attempts on goal hit the target.
– Holt must be careful with his defence though and try not to surrender possession and momentum to Utd. He’s now overtaken Bradley Johnson as the Norwich player with the most fouls to his name, having now conceded 49 this term.
– Sebastian Bassong’s keen ability to read the game with need to be at full sharpness this weekend to combat Utd’s dominant passing game. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him as making 93 interceptions this season, the highest in the Norwich squad.
– Look for Robert Snodgrass to potentially be the deliverer of the final killer ball for Norwich this weekend. No player in the Premier League can boast to have delivered as many crosses as him, his 105 deliveries placing him top of the pile.