Hernandez reminds Moyes of his ability as Manchester United advance
Mexican scores twice while Januzaj impresses in comfortable win over Norwich
Manchester United’s Fabio Da Silva scores his side’s fourth goal during last night’s match.
MANCHESTER UNITED 4 NORWICH 0: It was Javier Hernandez’s night and, ultimately, his only disappointment will be that it took place on one of those nights when Old Trafford’s acoustics were low and thousands of red, plastic seats went unused.
This increasingly seems to be Hernandez’s role for Manchester United, used only sparingly on the big occasions, but at least he has reminded David Moyes of his ability in front of goal, albeit against obliging opponents.
This was Hernandez’s fourth start of the season, with another four substitute appearances. It sums him up that he now has the same number of goals, the two he managed here setting up a comfortable win against a listless, unadventurous Norwich side.
Phil Jones completed the scoring in the final exchanges with a lovely volleyed finish and, along the way, there was another reminder of Adnan Januzaj’s gifts and some lovely flashes of the talent that will plainly illuminate this stadium for a long time to come.
But United, despite an experimental line-up, won with something to spare once Hernandez opened the scoring with a first-half penalty, following it up with a 52nd-minute header before late goals from Jones and the substitute Fabio da Silva.
Norwich, with eight changes of their own, will be aggrieved by the penalty because it was generous, in the extreme. That, however, does not mean it was unjust. But it was certainly a soft one to concede, bearing in mind Januzaj was on the byline, seemingly going nowhere, not even facing the goal and with several defenders in close proximity.
The teenager was effectively heading into a cul-de-sac when Leroy Fer, trying to usher him away, leant in and briefly put his left leg across the United player.
Fer should have taken more caution but neither he nor his opponent were actually running at the time and it all seemed to pass in slow motion. Hernandez’s penalty was struck powerfully to the right of the Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn who had dived the wrong way.
With both teams making so many changes, it was probably inevitable the game would be a little disjointed at times. Yet, however fortuitous United were perhaps with the penalty, there could be no disputing that Moyes’s team deserved their lead as the dominant side throughout the first-half.
Jones’s goal came three minutes from the end of normal time when Rafael’s cross was diverted into his path and the England international buried his shot.