An absolute demolition took place at Old Trafford Monday night, with Will Keane finding himself in the limelight from start to end, bagging an outrageous five goals in front of Ryan Giggs, Louis van Gaal – and Wayne Rooney.
Attack, attack, attack!
The reds showed attacking intent straight from the off, with Januzaj cutting in from the right after just a couple of minutes. The Belgian found Keane inside the box, who was able to pull the trigger, but Remi Matthews resorted to give away nothing more than a corner kick. That was about the only time Matthews was coming out on top over the night.
Not long after, Will Keane was incredibly close to break the deadlock, but he failed to convert the squared corner kick. He was, however, going to get things going soon enough.
Despite United pushed on, the Canaries were close to level the terms in the 23rd minute, when Ashley-Seal turned up just ouside the box. However, he wasn’t able to get his affort on target.
Warren Joyce’s side, however, were to get the lead. An Adnan Januzaj corner kick ended up at Andreas Pereira’s feet, and he cut it back for Keane, who scored the opener without a problem.
Januzaj, having been in brilliant form for the U21s recently had a penalty appeal turned down, after going to ground inside the box, and the scoreline remained 1-0 just yet.
His fellow winger Memphis Depay, who (undeservedly?) got some stick for United throwing away two points at Stamford Bridge at the weekend, wasn’t hesitating to take on the right back Hall-Johnson, particularly after about half the half played. However, a sloppy pass and a failed take-on denied him any noticeable success.
Injuries turn up – but no need to worry?
Januzaj’s night, however, personally ended in a mixture of anger, disappointment and frustration. With both Louis van Gaal and Ryan Giggs in the stands, the Belgian winger had to leave the pitch for Matty Willock after only half an hour of play, that’s to pulling his hamstring in a challenge. And only a pocketful of minutes later, Guillermo Varela had to leave the pitch as well, handing in the towel after failing to run off an injury. Post match, fortunately, Warren Joyce described Varela’s injury as «just a kick on the ankle» and the substitution of Januzaj as «just a precaution», so hopefully they’ll come good soon enough.
United, however, didn’t suffer noticeably, actually straight the opposite. Will Keane ended up making 2-0 – one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score – after Memphis Depay dribbled a few players and slid in a square ball i to him in front of goal.
Five minutes from half-time, Memphis tried to add to United’s lead through a free-kick from a wide position. He knocked it towards goal in a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque manner, but the ball sailed some distance wide of the target.
The guests enjoyed a little bit more of possession in the final minutes of the half, but were unable to provide any proper menace, and on the very limited occasions of surpassing United’s midfield, they were effectively stopped by the likes of Phil Jones and Paddy McNair. In other words, the sides returned to the dressing-rooms in a – thus far – competitive showdown, despite United having the upper hand.
Keane turns on the switch
Norwich probably had hopes of pulling one back after the promising end of the first half when they re-entered the pitch for the final 45 minutes. Will Keane, however, had other plans: Memphis Depay won possession high up the pitch, advanced towards the box, evaded a sliding tacke and squared it composedly for the striker, who took his time until the defender was lying flat out on the ground and chipped it over him cheekily, to complete his hat-trick.
Harsh penalty converted by Pereira
And it wasn’t going to get better for the Canaries. The playmaker Andreas Pereira chipped it to hit the centre-back Grant’s hand, and despite the slightly dubious decision, there was absolutely no doubt about the goal. Despite Keane usually is taking these for the U21s, Pereira let nobody touch the ball before he had waited out the keeper and slotted it the other way to make it 4-0.
Jones subbed – but not because of injury
Phil Jones left the pitch after an hour of play, with the most noticeable incident of tonight for him being a clash of heads with Matty Willock. Apart from that, he was rarely challenged, but looked solid when Norwich occasionally turned up. The substitution involved Ro-Shaun Williams entering the Old Trafford turf, and Warren Joyces confirmed the substitution was pre-planned to MUTV after the game.
Ooh Aah, Keane-tona!
Will Keane, however, didn’t bother too much about whom were being in defence or not. After 63 minutes of play, he picked up the ball wide right, advanced towards the box, played a 1-2 with James Weir, turned away from a few defenders and absolutely ridiculed the goalkeeper through an outrageous chip, reminiscing to the days of Eric Cantona.
Norwich didn’t really provide much, but Ray Grant, at least got to display a decent left-foot, curling a free-kick over the wall to force Romero out in full stretch after 67 minutes when they came on a rare visit on United’s half.
Fosuh-Mensah – centre-back, midfielder, full-back or perhaps striker?
At the other end, Matthew’s agony was not over. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, at left back for the occasion after Varela’s injury, brought the ball forward, gave it to Memphis Depay, who reversed it for Fosu-Mensah to continue his run. The athletic centre-back approached Matthew between the sticks and slotted it composedly in at the near post to add United’s sixth goal of tonight!
Keane completes fiver frenzy
The demolition was not over though, as James Weir nutmegged a player in yellow and green and looked for – guess who? – Will Keane. The striker displayed sublime strength to hold off the defender on his shoulder, not to mention the terrific finish out of the keeper’s reach to make it 7-0! That was Keane’s fifth in the game, and tenth of the season, from six U21 games played. That brings Keane into the history books as the fourth player to score five for United in a reserve/U21 game, with Danny Webber, Joe Roberts and Mark Roberts being the other ones. Deiniol Graham, however, bettered them all, having six goals in a game to his names on one occasion.
The game really faded after Keane ended his endless blasts, and apart from a Memphis rabona cross, there wasn’t really much to pay attention to.
“The chip was very pleasing, but they all count the same, so I take a tap-in and I take a chip,” was Will Keane’s comment to MUTV after the game.
United playing catch-up with Sunderland
This means that United are only one point off league leaders Sunderland, but the Red Devils have two games in hand on the Black Cats, and are undoubtedly the favourites to clinch the U21 Premier League title for the second time in a row.
Manchester United 7-0 Norwich
MUFC: Keane 13, 37, 48, 63, 77 A. Pereira 52, Fosu-Mensah 70 | NCFC:
United: Romero – Love, McNair, Jones (Williams 59), Varela (Fosu-Mensah 36)– Memphis, Weir, Harrop, Januzaj (Willock 31)– A. Pereira – Keane
Subs: Rothwell, J. Pereira (GK), Willock, Fosu-Mensah, Williams
Norwich: Matthews – Hall-Johnson, Crowe, Coker, Efete – Adams (McIntosh 81), Grant, Godfrey, Middleton (Ramsey 46)– Cantwell – Ashley-Seal
Subs: Couzens, Killip (GK), McIntosh, Jaiyesmi, Ramsey