Norwich City v Manchester City Barclays Premier League match report 8 February 2014 - Manchester City FC

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  • 08 February 2014 16:59
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc

There haven’t been too many disappointing weeks in the lives of City supporters in the 2013/14 season.

However, with just one point and no goals scored to show for games against Chelsea and Norwich, this has undoubtedly been one such spell.

City had a strong end to the first half, which saw Stevan Jovetic’s sublime chip controversially chalked out for offside and Alvaro Negredo’s header cannon back off the crossbar, but a strong and resolute Norwich side reduced their visitors to half chances after the break and clung on for a deserved point.

It was the first time this season the Blues had not reacted to Premier League defeat with a winning response and the first occasion since January 2012 that they have failed to score in successive league games.

Fellow “big horse” Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Liverpool in the day’s lunchtime kick-off had handed Manuel Pellegrini’s men had the opportunity to shake off the disappointment of Monday night by climbing back to the top of the Barclays Premier League table.

Arabic

Apocalyptic 80mph gales and torrential torrents of rain were prophesised across the front of newspapers in the UK on the morning of the game but this tempest failed to materialise above a few independent gusts at Carrow Road on a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon in East Anglia.

Instead, Chris Hughton’s men may have feared the perfect storm of a wounded visiting side that had not lost successive Premier League games since October 2010 and had racked up the division’s biggest win of the season so far at the Etihad at their expense in November.

A quartet of City’s thoroughbreds in Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Javi Garcia and Samir Nasri were never in contention to parade but it was still a strong card of runners and riders in Pellegrini’s palm.

Jovetic made just his second Premier League start for City, lining up alongside Negredo, while a duo of  diminutive ‘caballos’, David Silva and Jesus Navas were charged with loading the bullets from the wide berths.

Navas

James Milner returned from his lay-off to play in central midfield alongside Ivorian stallion Yaya Toure in front of a back four of Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis.

City had scored 13 goals on their last three successful visits to this picturesque corner of Norfolk and the Blues nearly got their noses in front in the fifth-minute through Silva but Bassong made a decisive intervention six yards out, before David could lash home Clichy’s whipped-in cross.

"Despite registering just one win from their last 11 games in all competitions, Norwich showed no evidence of depleted confidence and matched their visitors stride for stride in the opening 20 minutes."

...Norwich v City: Match report...

It may have taken City 43 minutes to force the Norwich keeper into a save but they were unfortunate not to take the lead on the half-hour mark when Jovetic produced an outrageous, arcing chip over John Ruddy and into the far corner.

However, Jon Moss ruled it out for offside – citing Negredo as the guilty party in the build-up, though, frustratingly, replays showed that the Spaniard was level.

Negredo

Despite that set-back, the Montenegrin’s moment of inspiration seemed to lift his teammates and paved the way for two more good opportunities for the opener for his strike partner with ten minutes of the first-half to play.

On the first occasion, Alvaro rattled the crossbar with a bullet header from a Demichelis flick-on, just before he found the side-netting with a rasping drive from 25 yards.

"As the break approached, Jovetic himself finally worked Ruddy after neat work from Silva on the left but Stevan’s volley from the edge of the area was gathered at the second time of asking as Norwich’s goal came under increasing threat."

...Norwich v City: Match report...

The Canaries weathered this squall and got in at the break unbreached, though they would have been mindful that no team had scored more than City’s 26 goals away from home this season.

Norwich had started to buck in the half’s closing stages but they regained their composure in the first 15 of the second period and the frustration began to tell on the away side for the first time, as they only had a Jovetic header into the sidenetting from a Milner cross to show for this passage of play.

arabic

Pellegrini reacted to this stasis by swapping in Edin Dzeko for the impressive Jovetic with half an hour to go – a man with form for cutting the mustard against this opposition, with three goals in his last four games against Norwich.

That change reintroduced urgency and cohesion into visitor’s attacking overtures but for all of City’s flurries of corners, domination of possession and increasingly desperate long range attempts on goal, Hughton’s men always seemed to be on hand to block, slide and deflect away at the crucial moments.

Dzeko pulled a shot wide shortly after coming on, before Aleksandar Kolarov was introduced with 15 minutes to play as City sought another angle of attack.

As the final furlong approached, the home side could have stolen the points as Nathan Redmond fired in a dangerous cross from the left byline which missed everyone and Anthony Pilkington narrowly missed the top corner with a fizzing strike on the right.

Negredo

Though the Blues never gave up trying to penetrate the Norwich backline, it had turned into a match which could have gone on until Match of the Day started without seeing a goal.

The draw leaves City in third place after Chelsea beat Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, though Pellegrini's men are still within striking distance ahead of Sunderland’s visit on Wednesday night.


City take on Sunderland in the Premier League on Wednesday 12 February in what will be a dress rehearsal for the Capital One Cup Final in March.

Can the Blues avenge the Stadium of Light defeat earlier this season? A night match under the lights at the Etihad and a preview of the forthcoming final - demand is expected to be high as Manuel Pellegrini's side attempt to continue their incredible run.

Don't miss out - ticket details can be found here...


Match details

Saturday 08 February 2014, 3:00PM

Carrow Road Att:26,382
Barclays Premier League

Referee:
Jon Moss

Teams

Norwich City:

Ruddy, Martin, Yobo, Bassong (c), Olsson, Redmond, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington (Whittaker 90mins), Fer, Hooper (van Wolfswinkel 66mins)

Unused subs:
Bunn, Hoolahan, Garrido, Becchio, Josh Murphy

Bookings:
Tettey 80mins, van Wolfswinkel 81mins

Manchester City:

Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Clichy, Navas, Milner, Toure, Silva, Jovetic (Dzeko 61mins), Negredo (Kolarov 77mins)

Unused subs:
Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Rodwell, Lopes

Bookings:
Milner 76mins

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.

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