Sir Alex Ferguson's tactical dilemma against Norwich

United Attack

Manchester United face tricky decisions over how to set the team up this weekend.

While on the face of it a home fixture against Norwich City should provide a rather straightforward challenge for a team who aim to beat Real Madrid days later, Manchester United will know better than that.

For if there is one team they will not underestimate it is the Canaries, who valiantly defeated them 1-0 at Carrow Road earlier in the season.

While Norwich's poor form matches only QPR (one league win in 10), combined with United's home advantage, should indicate a home win, it isn't always so simple.

Which is partly why Sir Alex Ferguson faces a dilemma this weekend over his team selection; but it is mainly because the club face Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The manager has two choices.

(a) Pick a full strength team and allow them to pick up the same momentum with a big win which Madrid harnessed from their demolition of Barcelona in midweek.

(b) Give several fringe players a chance to stake their claim to appear against Madrid, including Nani and Anderson.

Now there are drawbacks with both. Regarding option (a), United already have injury concerns over Phil Jones and do not want to pick up any more.

Imagine if Rafael or Michael Carrick for example, key players in the team, were to pick up injuries which would rule them out of Tuesday's game.

With it just three days after the Norwich match, even a minor knock could cause any injured players to miss the game.

With doubts over the fitness of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, it may be prudent to allow them to rest, but you figure Ferguson will want them to get some match action ahead of the big game in midweek and even grab a goal to boost their confidence and sharpness.

One of the positives over option (b) is it will keep squad players like Nani, Anderson, Javier Hernandez or Tom Cleverley happy, and if one of them or more puts in a stormer, they can throw their name into contention for Madrid.

This can be good, but it could also cloud Ferguson's judgement in team selection in midweek when he probably has a rough idea of who his first eleven will be, but surely he would rather have a positive headache to consider and that is why he has a big squad in the first place.

Our expectation is it is likely Hernandez will start up front and Van Persie come off the bench. As for the rest of the line-up, that is entirely far more unpredictable.

How do you believe United will line-up against Norwich?

image: © paolo camera

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