Archive for September 2012
Fifty weeks have now passed since the Blues last tasted the sharp bitterness of defeat at home – 24 wins, 2 draws and 71 goals scored – and by all sane measures, bar the law of Sod, the Canaries were never going to tarnish that proud achievement.
‘Typical City’ might have given another full house a few flutters but this is ‘Roberto Mancini’s City’ and that’s an entirely different beast to the ever so slightly schizophrenic versions of more recent times.
An instinctive strike from Sergio Aguero in the 32nd minute supplemented by a slightly comical effort from Samir Nasri set the seal on another three points and maintained City’s ferocious pace atop the Barclays Premier League.
The gloss to the result was added by Yaya Toure curling in a fine effort from just inside the box.
Even with Bayern Munich and Champions League D-day looming – Norwich famously know all about beating the Bavarian powerhouses in European competition – Mancini took no chances with his starting line-up.
Joleon Lescott, James Milner, and Mario Balotelli were, however, left on the bench, and Kolo Toure got a rare Premier League start.
On a raw Mancunian afternoon the Blues warmed the cockles of their followers’ hearts with a string of attacking moves that put observers in mind of a sleek, fit, alert cat in the prime of its life toying with a bedraggled mouse that had seen better days.
That is not to disparage in any way Norwich who have done well since arriving in the top flight this season and who play neat, attractive, well-ordered football but rather to emphasise the class of Mancini’s side which moves the ball with a calm, ruthless thoughtfulness that is the envy of many of their peers.
Central to this particular easy-on-the-eye success were Aguero and David Silva whose legs might not have been the quickest on the slick, Etihad Stadium turf but whose combined thought processes and football brains were yards quicker than their foes!
The dynamic duo skittered hither and thither with purpose and panache; a two-man assault team that was unstoppable. Aguero could have had three by half-time.
The Argentinian should have broken the deadlock before quarter time but somehow managed to side foot Nasri’s cross over the bar from seven yards, it was a glaring miss.
No matter, when Micah Richards made one of his trademark darting runs into the box just past the half hour mark, Aguero ignored shouts for handball against Leon Barnett and instead extricated himself from a maze of yellow socked legs and toe poked the matching coloured ball into the bottom corner.
Within three minutes it should have been 2-0 but Aguero this time blazed over the bar from a tight angle after again finding space where there appeared to be none.
Still none of that mattered as the game followed a familiar pattern in the second half with Nasri’s skidding, googly of a free kick fooling John Ruddy for the second and Yaya Toure, as has been his M.O. in recent weeks, side footing home a gem of a third from Silva’s pass.
Their work done Aguero and Silva retired to the side lines leaving Yaya and Gareth Barry to continue an afternoon-long master class in retaining and using possession.
Norwich’s consolation came ten minutes from time from the head of Steve Morison but even then there was time for Mario Balotelli to restore the three-goal margin and then fellow substitute Adam Johnson to roll home a fifth.