Ultimately, it was a game with an eerie semblance to the ground out result against QPR, just with a few more goals near the conclusion to make it look easier than it was.
Which is not to say that it was a tight affair. Norwich were pretty mundane upfront, with De Gea and his defence rarely troubled. The closest they really came was a close range wide that would have been ruled out for an infringement anyway. This was not the same Norwich team that beat United in November, this is a more tired outfit, one that looked very bereft of ideas.
Kagawa was the obvious star, and when he is in form he is unplayable. It helped that the defence he had to work against was fairly lacklustre, but that should not diminish his achievement too much really. He has a great knock of pushing forward and getting into the right position inside their box when he has to, and his hat-trick of goals all cam as a result of good passing and inter-play with others. Rooney was a good supplier all day, and the two have a good partnership. Rooney’s own goal was a peach of course, and no better way to get set for the big occasion on Tuesday. The (as of writing) 15 point gap between first and second is considerable, but just as comforting the GD gap. Putting teams to the sword is something that United have failed to do a lot over the last few years, so its good to see them actually punish a side.
Real Madrid to come, an intriguing encounter. Real are bound to score at some point, so it would be a mistake to sit back and attempt to grind out a scoreless passage to the last eight. Real have to attack, so there will be gaps to exploit, and the Spanish champions do seem somewhat iffy when defending set-pieces. A game United have the advantage in, and should be capable of seeing out.
Elsewhere, it seems like Spurs are becoming the team to watch, besting Arsenal once more and moving within a very catchable distance of Manchester City. Provided AVB and Bale can keep it up for another few months we could be in for a very tight CPL place race, and the match between the east London club and the blue side of Manchester in late April could easily be one of the defining games of the season. Poor old Arsenal limp on, looking less and less likely to maintain their CPL attainment form, and more and more like a club with a serious deficiency in ambition.
Chelsea got their win, but the attention being centred around “Rafa” can only be damaging to their prospects. The European Champions re really in a form of freefall on a personal level, and given the history of their owner, it is hard to see any kind of stability being introduced during the summer.
Down south of the table, QPR aren’t quite finished yet, although the rarity of the win they managed to get over Southampton doesn’t exactly bode well. But “Arry” still has a fighting chance of dragging his side to 17th, provided the stories surrounding the teams off field shenanigans aren’t rue. Newcastle have allowed themselves to slip back into relegation contention as a very forgettable season continues, and I remain flabbergasted at the level of decline they have shown over previous years.