Man Utd v Norwich: Ronaldo can help get hosts over the line

Norwich could make a game of it at Old Trafford but Dave Tindall is taking Cristiano Ronaldo to set Man Utd on the way to victory...

United seeing top four hopes fading

After a few signs that Ralf Rangnick might be knocking United into shape, the Red Devils have really sunk to another low.

In all competitions they've managed just a single win in seven games and that was fortunate too; one of those matches where Cristiano Ronaldo produced a Roy of the Rovers act to seal a 3-2 victory over Spurs.

That could have been a key moment in the race to finish in the top four, especially with Arsenal opening the door with a trio of defeats.

But while Tottenham have kicked on, United have since taken only one point out of six after a home draw with Leicester and a limp 1-0 defeat at Everton last weekend.

That's left them six behind Antonio Conte's men with both teams having played 31 games and United's odds to finish in the top four have drifted all the way out to 20.0 on the exchange.

It's not done yet but does this United squad really give the impression that it has the fight and desire to get back in the race? There's an awful lot of evidence that says 'no'.

On the team news front, Rangnick's side are without Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani.

Canaries still showing some chirp

Norwich have been written off as relegation fodder for most of this season and they remain bottom of the table with just seven games remaining.

It's a pretty hopeless position with fourth-bottom Everton seven points above them and fifth-bottom Leeds 12 clear.

But just when it seemed they were on the verge of needing snookers, the Canaries have shown some fight by taking four points from their last two games: a 0-0 draw at Brighton and a 2-0 home win over Burnley.

Is there a scenario where they can get something from Old Trafford and perhaps score a couple of wins over their next few games? They are home to Newcastle, away to Aston Villa and home to West Ham.

Dean Smith won at Old Trafford with Aston Villa earlier this season so he'll at least have some positive vibes when he returns to the opposition dugout.

Norwich will have to make do without left-back Brandon Williams, who is ineligble to play against his parent club.

Dangers lurk for United backers

The match odds show Man Utd at 1.27The Draw at 6.8 and Norwich at 15.0.

There are a couple of good signs for Norwich apart from Smith's win at Old Trafford with Villa.

First, United have lost two and drawn one of their last four Premier League games against sides starting the day bottom of the table, suggesting this is exactly the kind of fixture when they take their eyes off the ball.

Second, before beating Burnley, Norwich's other four Premier League wins this season have come in pairs. In other words, when they do finally win a game, a second follows straight after.

That may be random but could point to them reacting well to a rare confidence boost. If so, the fact that they head to Manchester on the back of a victory helps build the case for a shock.

Norwich's last win at Old Trafford came in 2015 so it's not one of these games where the visiting side haven't won there in decades.

Both Teams To Score has mixed appeal

Perhaps Both teams to Score could be a way of having something a little pro-Norwich if the outrights don't appeal.

'Yes' is 2.1 which seems okay until a check of the table shows that Norwich have scored just eight away goals in 15 Premier League road games. It's the fewest by far for teams on their travels.

On the other hand, United have conceded as many home goals as Everton (19) and just one fewer than Burnley.

However, if Norwich do score, I want to be recompensed with something better than just over Even money. Therefore the Sportsbook could be the place to go.

Ronaldo appeals on Bet Builder

On the Bet Builder, I'll take the basic idea of Norwich scoring and add in two other lines of thinking.

Ultimately, I think Man Utd will win the game even though it could well be a huff and puff job and plays out closer than many think.

What gets the price up is backing Cristiano Ronaldo to score the first goal. The striker is just 2/5 to net anytime which is predictably short but there are decent grounds to think he banks the opener.

Although his late winners grab the headlines, a look at the last four games in which Ronaldo registered shows that he got the first goal in three of them.

He also got the only, and hence first, goal in United's 1-0 win at Carrow Road earlier this season.

So the bet is Man Utd to win, Both teams to Score and Cristiano Ronaldo to score first. It pays approximately 8.0 and looks a decent way in on a game where it's hard to find too many avenues for profit unless actively oppositing the hosts.

Opta stat

Manchester United have won 12 of their last 15 Premier League games against Norwich (L3), winning each of their last four in a row against the Canaries.

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