Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road puts the pressure on Manchester City before their Sunday match-up against 3rd place Arsenal.
Although United’s season has had its’ shares of ups and downs, the win gives van Gaal the opportunity to salvage this season with a potential Champions League berth and a chance to lift the FA Cup in a few weeks.
The Canaries, who are also fighting a different battle to avoid relegation did themselves no favors with a loss at home, registering a paltry two shots on target.
The first chance came for United when Chris Smalling attacked a Juan Mata corner and headed the ball just over John Ruddy’s goal.
After a sloppy first half that saw the injured Matteo Darmian being replaced by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Norwich would lead the charge in the second half and put United on their back foot for a bit.
The United defence that was without Daley Blind, who was given a rest, ended up seeing the game through and finished the match with their 18th clean sheet of the season.
Mata, United’s Player of the Match on the day, started the game quietly but grew into the game as the match went on and eventually would score the game winner in the 72nd minute.
The Spaniard finished the day with two shots, one of which was on goal and converting that one shot on target. Mata’s goal was his first from open play in the Premier League since September (Squawka).
If Arsenal can defeat or draw against City and United can win at West Ham on Tuesday, van Gaal’s men will be in the top 4 for the first time this calendar year.