Manchester United 4 Norwich City 0 match report: Adnan Januzaj dazzles and Javier Hernandez fires to overwhelm limp Canaries in League Cup

The sense that manager David Moyes is beginning to find stability at Old Trafford gathers strength

Old Trafford

The days since Manchester United last lost a football match tick up to 32 and though there will be few more feeble challenges than this, the sense that David Moyes is beginning to find stability gathers strength.

A third successive win was decorated by the match-winning performance of a beaming two-goal Javier Hernandez who, with 54 goals in 125 United games now, should not be feeling as uncertain about his future as the words attributed to him and the Tottenham rumours suggest. He has been a substitute in 75 of those games. That will often be his role now. But here was enough to tell Moyes that he warrants more than the one league start and one in Europe that this season has brought. All in all, the victory was a parable about the less appreciated talents

Wilfried Zaha’s place in the starting XI delivered him the chance to prove something to Moyes, who had been until now unconvinced by Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing. He could hardly have delivered more through an opening half in which he twice drove dangerously into the right-hand channel to supply Hernandez, who was bundled off the ball each time.

It was meteorological baptism for Zaha, too, and a foul Manchester night did not lend itself to anything terribly sublime after Moyes – reluctant to dip into the ranks of untested youth in the nine changes he made – sent his players out to work. But Zaha displayed strength, a willingness to work back, and self-confidence; rolling the ball under his studs, linking neatly with Phil Jones alongside him in midfield, and taking two touches as he coaxed the ball towards the area and into the feet of Hernandez after 12 minutes. His 77 minutes of football offered enough for him to feel that he might not be farmed out on loan in January after all, as Moyes has said he might.

Adnan Januzaj remained the star commodity, though. There was no substantial contact when Leroy Fer challenged him, as he sought to whip around the Norwich midfielder near the byline on 18 minutes. But there was enough to validate United’s penalty claims, allowing Hernandez to place the spot-kick to Mark Bunn’s right.

The significant aspect of the goal was Januzaj’s willingness to attack with his head up. He is always a threat. His run and shot, after he gathered the ball a few inches inside the half and took it to the penalty box as the game entered its last half-hour, and his collection of a ball from Jones to drive narrowly wide of Bunn’s right post were two of the stand-out moments, weak though the final efforts were.

Norwich, with bigger battles to fight at the wrong end of the Premier League, offered little beyond the occasional threat of Nathan Redmond. They began the second half a little more strongly, when Johan Elmander almost got a touch after Redmond eased past Rafael to cross. But the other encouraging moment, when Alexander Buttner was skinned by Redmond, saw Robert Snodgrass deliver his head into the back of Rafael’s. The Norwich man was carried off.

Defensive catastrophe sealed the tie. It was poor to have allowed Hernandez one free header to climb to Buttner’s excellent cross but dismal to give him a free leap at the rebound, after Bunn’s save. There was only marginally more vigour about Fer’s clearance after Rafael’s deft clipped cross created more danger. It fell to Jones, who thumped home. Fabio, another forgotten man, had been on the field for less than a minute when he chested down a 20-yard cross-field ball from substitute Wayne Rooney and rolled the ball in. Moyes looked deeply contented. Easy nights have been few and far between here, these last three months.

Man of the match Januzaj. 

Match rating 6/10.

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire).

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'