It has the potential to be another historic season for Manchester United, who sit 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and are just one game away from the Champions League last eight.
But for all the tentative talk of a repeat of their 1999 treble-winning campaign, the Reds will not be looking past the visit of Norwich City to Old Trafford this weekend.
After all, the Canaries are one of just three sides to have inflicted defeat upon United in the league this term, securing a 1-0 victory when the teams met at Carrow Road back in November.
Despite that reverse, Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to make wholesale changes against Norwich, with one eye firmly on Tuesday night’s crunch Champions League clash with Real Madrid at Old Trafford.
Top scorer Robin van Persie was withdrawn before half-time in the Reds’ 2-0 win away at bottom club QPR last weekend due to a hip injury and the Dutchman is expected to sit out this match to give him the chance to fully recover ahead of the Madrid game.
While Wayne Rooney will feature against Jose Mourinho’s men, the forward has played just half an hour of football in the two games since the first leg and Ferguson is likely to start him from the beginning this weekend to build up his match sharpness.
Unsurprisingly, the Reds head into the game as the overwhelming favourites at 3/10 to extend their lead at the top to 15 points (second-placed Manchester City don’t play until Monday evening), with the draw at 17/4 and an unlikely double over United this season for Chris Hughton’s men available at 8/1.
With no Van Persie to call upon on Saturday, this could give Javier Hernandez the chance to step up to the plate and add to his eight Premier League goals this season and he looks a good price at 9/2 to open the scoring, or a safer 11/10 to find the net at any time.
Should Hernandez find himself on the bench once again, as has been the case for the majority of the season, strike partner Danny Welbeck is priced at the same odds as the Mexican in both markets and he’ll be keen to prove his worth for a starting spot against the Spanish giants.
United head into the game in fine domestic form having won their last four league matches in a row, conceding just one goal in that time, and despite their reshuffle this weekend, they look tempting at 21/20 to win to nil, as was the case in this fixture last season, when they ran out 2-0 victors.
Norwich come into the match on the back of a 2-1 success at home to Everton, a game in which they soaked up plenty of pressure before popping up with two late goals to secure all three points, much to the dismay of Toffees boss David Moyes.
That victory ended a run of nine league matches without a win for the Norfolk club, five of which saw them fail to breach their opponents’ defence, and Hughton’s men have found the net on just 11 occasions away from home this season.
One of the main reasons for United’s success this term is their ability to find the net, as they have fired blanks in only two of their league outings, notching 64 goals in 27 matches, so goals are generally guaranteed when Ferguson’s men are involved.
A bet that takes the eye is the over 1.5 goals in the first half, which can be backed at 23/20 and has been the case in 14 of United’s league matches this campaign, while backing this outcome in Norwich games this season which have proved successful on 11 occasions.
Having plenty of experience of being in this situation before, Ferguson will send out a side he will fully expect to secure all three points and the league leaders should have more than enough in reserve to complete the task at hand.