MAN CITY 2 NORWICH CITY 3 – City hit bum notes as Canaries on song

A season that began with a five goal feast of free-flowing football ended with a five goal flop as the deposed champions floundered in a miserable show of rank incompetence.

The contrasting emotions from winning the Community Shield and downing the reigning European Champions, to capitulating to a bunch of Canaries on a Sunday afternoon excursion could not have been starker.

A season full of hope and ambition, fuelled by the most explosive climax in Premier League history, ended as limp as an impotent marathon runner with a pebble in his shoe – not a pretty sight.

A near capacity crowd – well at least according to the Etihad Stadium announcer – witnessed a dreadful dirge of Manchester City ineptitude in subdued surroundings, where the screaming yellow garb of the Norwich players and fans alike were the brightest elements on display.

Well, that’s not strictly true – Jack Rodwell scored a brace of cracking goals, as he appeared to be the only City player looking remotely interested in proceedings.

An air of bewilderment abounded as City, fresh from stinking out Wembley Stadium, returned home manager-less with a large and vocal section of the crowd singing the praises of the dear departed Mancini.

It was always going to happen and, from the fans perspective, why shouldn’t it?

Roberto had given them silverware as well as a pretty unique parting message as he said ‘Ciao’ via his full page ad in the Manchester Evening News. The fans just wanted to let him know that there will always be a place for him in their hearts.

Brian Kidd’s team selection did little to bring clarity to the befuddlement that fogged the senses of the masses. No Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Barry, Silva or Aguero in the starting XI. Maybe they were being saved for the exhibition games – Stateside – next week?

The cynics and skeptics in the crowd remarked that it looked like a showcase for many of the players likely to be exiting the Etihad this summer.

Kolarov, Richards, Lescott, Nasri, Dzeko and Tevez may all have played their last competitive match for City – only time will tell.

Notionally they could have a collective transfer value of £75million – provided any would be suitors were not present, nor were ever likely to see the match highlights. If that were to happen City would be picking up more like £75!

The chirpy little Canaries could have been forgiven for falling off their perches, as the meanest defence in the PL looked as secure as a one-legged alcoholic in the last minute of a Happy Hour at a Southern Comfort distillery.

Micah, Joleon, Aleks and Pablo could not have been any more accommodating as Norwich scored three and could so easily have doubled their tally.

It begged the question where was City’s standout centre back pairing of Vincent and Matija? Missing mysteriously at Reading, the duo were once again conspicuous by their absence. Were they injured? Were they dropped – if so why?

Rumours remain rife that City’s Captain Fantastic may have been subject to some form of disciplinary action following an alleged altercation with a team mate after the Wembley debacle.

If – and it’s a big word if – it’s true then although it does little to promote an entente cordiale in the ranks, it does at least show that a deep passion burns within the skipper, and that can’t be  a bad thing.

City fell behind in the 26th minute when Yaya Toure, displaying all the alacrity of an oil tanker turning in high seas, was dispossessed by Hoolahan, the ball played to ex-Red Pilkington who slotted it past Hart.

Bang went Joe’s 19th clean sheet of the season, albeit he had already secured the Golden Glove Award for a third successive year for the highest number of shutouts.

Within three minutes the promising Rodwell broke his City scoring duck. Nasri played the ball to Dzeko, the Bosnian rolled the ball to Rodwell and he hammered home in accomplished fashion past Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

Half time came and went with the home team continuing to look disinterested much to the disdain of the impatient home support. The Canaries were once again hovering in the ascendancy when Grant Holt applied a simple finish after Snodgrass slid the ball across City’s box in the 54th minute.

Minutes earlier Carlos Tevez had been the subject of a strange substitution – not for the first time this season – as he made way for his fellow countryman, Aguero.

The departing Argentine received a standing ovation and he responded with applause and a 360 degree loop as he left the field of play – many believe for the last time in a competitive City game.

His body language spoke volumes and it’d be a canny punter who would bet against Carlitos continuing his career at one of Juventus, Monaco or PSG. It makes financial sense – Tevez gets one more big money transfer before finishing off his career with Boca Juniors, while City get a fee of £12m-£15m and save £200k-a-week in wages for the final year of his contract.

It was déjà vu on the hour mark as the splendid Rodwell – thoroughly deserving of his England call-up – rampaged upfield, outstripped  Whittaker for pace, before whipping a low left foot strike beyond Ruddy into the bottom right corner.

Brilliant! A real slice of Lionheart commitment and now perhaps City would finally stir from slumber?

Alas no – it was left to Norwich’s Howson to carry the ball the length of City’s half, evading pathetic interventions from Lescott, Richards and Zabaleta before a clinical finish past Hart.

It was too much for some of the City fans who’d had just about enough in seven days of flux and upheaval and more and more blue seats began to appear around the Etihad.

Silva was introduced for the valiant Rodwell and, despite a late attempt to salvage something from a horrible afternoon, City succumbed to an embarrassing defeat – only their second at home in 48 PL games.

When a dejected City squad emerged 15 minutes after the final whistle for the traditional lap of thanks to the fans, it was a thoroughly underwhelming affair.

A minority of supporters stayed to applaud, but the players, led by the previously absent Kompany, looked as comfortable as a fart in a space suit as they took the sympathetic acclaim.

It mirrored the quandary in which the club is presently entrenched. No manager, differing factions in the dressing room and transfer speculation – both in and out – aplenty.

Bleak as the outlook is at the season’s end, I have no doubt the City hierarchy will transform the perspective in the coming days and weeks.

Manuel Pellegrini should be installed – maybe not in time for City’s US mini-tour – but soon enough.

The players who have run their course will be shipped out and those earmarked to win back the PL title and progress deep into the latter stages of the Champions League will be flown in.

It might not feel like it now but the Blue Moon will be on the up very soon, and with it the spirits of all Manchester City fans.

Lest we forget we DO ‘fight till the end’.

 

 

16 Comments

  1. May 20, 2013  8:53 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    A disappointing, Reading excepted, end to the season. I still would have expected more, given our proud home record in the league over the past two seasons. The end of the season has come just at the right time, and now the senior management have to demonstrate why they are in situ.

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  3. May 20, 2013  9:33 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Having supported City for 43 years now it feels odd to express disappointment at finishing 2nd in the the league and the FA Cup in the same season. However, after the comparative heroics of last year, the whimpering end to this season has been pitiful. We can only hope that reshaping plans for a range of 'ins and outs' are well underway so that we are in the best position to fight for our trophy from the start of next season. If all our squad cared as much as the fans, the task would be considerably easier.

  4. May 20, 2013  10:18 pm by Susan Richardson Reply

    Sense of humour compulsory! You are spot on disappointing and whatever is going on where was their sense of pride, if as has been reported the players are glad the manager has gone then they didn't show it. Lets hope 2013-14 will give us something to celebrate!!!!

  5. May 21, 2013  12:01 am by Dave Bones Reply

    The game was basically a dead rubber David,had "non event" stamped right through it,and although us fans would love to think the lads would put on a show for us,sadly that was never going to happen.
    Ultimately there not city fans,there just professional footballers earning a crust(Kings Ranson).
    They looked at the table,saw absolutely zero to play for and proceeded to stink the place out.Saying that though,there was an FACUP to win previously and they still performed like a one armed man in a clapping contest.USELESS.
    Cheers for all the Previews/Reviews throughout the season pal,you know your appreciated by all the blues who are sick to the back choppers of the scum anti city media.
    Have a great summer David & roll on August.

    • May 21, 2013  8:36 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Thanks for your comments Dave, I will try and keep RBNR ticking over during the 10-12 weeks of 'down time' because I have a feeling we are going to have a helluva lot of activity to monitor, speculate upon and ultimately report.

  6. May 21, 2013  12:16 am by ArtyS Reply

    Sums it all up perfectly. A pity the team could not put on a performance for us as an apology for Wembley.Still......ever optimistic & looking forward to some new faces for next season & getting our title back.

    • May 21, 2013  8:38 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Cheers Art - a case of one step backwards & three steps forward - I think we are going to buy BIG and buy genuine top class quality which will take us past our Red Brethren across the way.

  7. May 21, 2013  12:20 am by Kev Russell Reply

    Well put David. Apart from Rodwell, well exactly not a lot. Use this space to Thankyou for keeping us blues well informed this season. I've always said you deserve to be read by many more football fans, not just City, because you are never biased & tell it like it is. I look forward to reading your work over the close season & in a triumphant 2013/14 season. Cheers David & hope you & the family have a great summer. #TopScriber

    • May 21, 2013  8:43 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Gratitude Kev for being so gracious with your praise and for having been there when RBNR launched. Hopefully there's a heck of a lot further to go as we strive to extend the popularity and reach of the website. You and Annie have a prosperous and healthy summer, but no need to be strangers, given all the communication channels available to us #MCFCFamily.

  8. May 21, 2013  6:48 am by carol Reply

    it was never gonna be a showcase match and obviously we're always behind the team but you could get annoyed with them when they dont turn up. The people who sit in the stands week in week out are the people who allow them to live in the style to which we'd all like to become accustomed. We know how they CAN play when the muse is on them so it feels a little disrespectful to the fans and the shirt when they appear to be disinterested!

    • May 21, 2013  8:48 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Bang on Carol - it's still upwards of £30-£52 to get in, there's travel costs, time and effort invested by the fans so the LEAST the buggers could do is give their all, as we would if we'd ever had the chance to don the shirt. They live a charmed and privileged life and it does not sit well when they chronically underperform.

  9. May 23, 2013  6:08 am by Mark James Reply

    As always v interesting article I just think tht game summed up our season started brightly thn jus feded away !!! I did every single game this season home and away so even tho we didn't win anythin(apart from the shield? ) at least I can say I watched every game as CHAMPIONS and no one can ever take that away from me !!! Roll on next season wen we'll cum bak stronger thn ever !!!!!!!

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