Manchester U 4 Norwich 0

Shinji Kagawa

Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Nor­wich City 0, Old Tra­ford, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Mar­ch 2, 2013. Man­chester Uni­ted kept march­ing on as they trashed Chris Hughton´s Nor­wich City 4-0 at Old Traf­ford. Shinji Ka­gawa net­ted three goals in the 45th, 76th and 87th min­utes re­spect­ively, whi­le the fi­nal goal of the tie was pro­duced by Way­ne Roo­ney in the 90th minute.

What goes down some­times comes back up. In the case of Nor­wich City, the Nor­folk si­de had lost their place in the Bar­clays Pre­mier Lea­gue in 2005, and they were re­leg­ated ag­ain in­to Foot­ball Lea­gue One in 2009. Af­ter los­ing by the alarm­ing score of 7-1 to neigh­bouring rivals Col­chester Uni­ted at Car­row Road in the open­ing mat­ch of the 2009-10 sea­son, The Ca­nar­ies re­boun­ded to win pro­mo­tion fir­st to the Foot­ball Lea­gue Cham­pi­on­ship in 2009-10, and then to the Pre­mier Lea­gue in 2010-11. In the 2011-12 cam­paign, Nor­wich lost bo­th of their fix­tures wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted as they were com­fort­ably de­feated 2-0 by The Reds at Old Traf­ford on the 1st of Oct­ober 2011, be­fore be­ing beaten 2-1 at Car­row Road on the 26th Feb­ruary 2012, but they still gave a per­fectly de­cent ac­count of them­selves. In the fir­st meet­ing be­tween the two clubs in the 2012-13 sea­son, how­ever, the car­rot crunch­ers had nar­rowly edged out the men in red shirts 1-0 at ho­me cour­tesy of a head­ed goal by for­mer Re­pub­lic of Ire­land U21 in­ter­na­tion­al An­thony Pilk­ing­ton on the hour mark.

This time ar­ound, tho­ugh, Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated the pro­ceed­ings from the very be­gin­ning and the ho­me si­de en­joyed a num­ber of op­por­tun­it­ies to score be­fore they fi­nally ma­naged to break the de­fens­ive dead­lock at the end of the fir­st frame. At the stroke of ha­lf-time, Dutch stri­ker Robin van Per­sie push­ed a dif­fi­cult cross from An­tonio Va­lencia straight to Shinji Ka­gawa who opened the scor­ing wi­th a cool clo­se ran­ge ef­fort to hand the hosts a fully de­served and well earned lead shortly be­fore the in­ter­val. Van Per­sie was ev­entually re­placed by Dan­ny Wel­beck mid­way thro­ugh the sec­ond pe­riod, whi­le Nor­wich bro­ught on Kei Kamara for Wes Hoo­la­han. Then, wi­th less than fif­teen min­utes re­maining on ref­er­ee Neil Swarbrick´s clock, Man­chester Uni­ted doubled their ad­vant­age as Way­ne Roo­ney de­livered the ball on a sil­ver plat­ter for the on­com­ing Ka­gawa who wi­th ef­fort­less calm fou­nd the net from on­ly a few yards out. The Ja­pan­ese then went on to com­plete his hat-trick when the play­maker re­ceived a bril­liant pass by Roo­ney and el­eg­antly chipped the ball over on­rush­ing Nor­wich cus­todi­an Ma­rk Bunn and in­to the goal in the 87th min­ute of the one-sided affair.

Three min­utes la­ter in the con­test, Roo­ney re­cor­ded the last goal of the af­ter­noon wi­th a breath­tak­ing long dis­tance rock­et which left the away goal­keeper wi­th no chan­ce to save what­soever. Not sur­pris­ingly, Ka­gawa was de­servedly voted Man of the Mat­ch and the mid­field play­er had now ma­naged to amass a total of five goals in fif­teen starts for Man­chester Uni­ted since his much pub­li­cised ar­rival at the club from Bor­us­sia Dort­mund at the be­gin­ning of the 2012-13 cam­paign. Af­ter over­com­ing Nor­wich City by 4-0 at Old Traf­ford, Man­chester Uni­ted were now fif­teen points ahead of sec­ond pla­ced Man­chester City wi­th a mat­ch more played. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Da­vid de Gea, Pat­rice Ev­ra, Chris Small­ing, Jon­athan Evans, Ne­manja Vid­ic, Mi­chael Car­rick, Va­lencia, Shinji Ka­gawa, Oli­veira An­der­son, Robin van Per­sie, Way­ne Roo­ney. Sub­stitutes: Tom Clev­er­ley, Dan­ny Wel­beck, Ra­fael da Silva, Ash­ley Young, Javi­er Her­nandez, Lu­is Nani, An­ders Linde­gaard. Nor­wich City Te­am: Ma­rk Bunn, Se­bas­tien Bas­song, Mi­chael Turn­er, Rus­sell Mar­tin, Javi­er Gar­rido, Wes­ley Hoo­la­han, Jon­ny Howson, Brad­ley John­son, An­thony Pilk­ing­ton, Ro­bert Snod­grass, Grant Holt. Sub­stitutes: El­li­ott Ben­nett, Ry­an Ben­nett, Ste­ven Whit­taker, Dave Fox, Lu­ciano Bec­chio, Kei Kamara, Lee Camp.

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