Carrick and Welbeck step up and lead Manchester United to victory

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick made his first start Saturday since the Red Devil’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal in early November.

The Manchester United midfielder returned to the the starting line-up in the narrow 1-0 victory away at Norwich City. Manager David Moyes has missed Carrick’s passing ability in the central midfield area and the former Tottenham midfielder is clearly key at setting the tempo of the game.

During Carrick’s absence, Manchester United struggled - recording just two Premier League wins before their 3-2 comeback victory at Hull City, and winning only one of three at Old Trafford. Losses to Everton and then Newcastle highlighted the lack of balance in the side.

Despite Manchester United being on the back foot in the first half at Norwich, Carrick shielded the defence well and was particularly important at maintaining possession when the Premier League champions retrieved the ball. The 32-year-old midfielder had 84 touches, made the most passes on the pitch (72) with 90% of those successfully finding his intended target. In a tough encounter, Manchester United ran out winners, thanks to a Danny Welbeck goal.

With two victories in three days, the form of Welbeck, and the return of Michael Carrick, are major plus factors for Manchester United manager David Moyes, who still has key players out injured, or not fit.

'Danny Welbeck couldn't score very often last season, but he looks like he will do it every time now. He changed the game today when he came on', Moyes said.

image: © Andrea Sartorati

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