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Manchester United scrapes by Norwich

Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Danny Welbeck rounded John Ruddy to score the winning goal for Manchester United.

NORWICH, England (AP) -- Substitute Danny Welbeck scored in the second half Saturday as Manchester United beat Norwich 1-0 to move within two points of the top four in the Premier League.

United needed a bit of luck to break down a disciplined Norwich defense in the 57th minute, as a failed clearance ricocheted off both Welbeck and Javier Hernandez before setting the former free on goal. Welbeck made no mistake, racing on to the ball and rounding goalkeeper John Ruddy before slotting into the net.

United were without both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but still earned its fourth straight league victory to provisionally move to sixth place, only two points behind fourth-place Liverpool.

Rooney didn't travel to Norfolk because of a groin problem while van Persie still isn't match fit. And without its top attacking duo, United lacked a cutting edge in attack during a first half in which the Canaries were well on top.

However, following Welbeck's introduction at the restart, United looked much more balanced going forward and got the breakthrough when a clearance from Ryan Bennett bounced back off the England striker and on into the penalty area, where he rounded Ruddy to slot home.

It was a sixth straight victory in all competitions for David Moyes' men and ensured they will go into 2014 with their hopes of defending the league title still intact.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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