NORWICH 3 MAN CITY 4 – Canary roast

Norwich City have Delia Smith, gourmet cook extraordinaire, whereas Manchester City have Edin Dzeko, ‘PaxoMan’,who just loves stuffing the opposition.

Renowned for hitting late winners, Dzeko turned early bird, ruffling Canary feathers with two goals in four minutes, setting City up for this most vital of victories.

Had it not been for the jerk of a referee Mike Jones and the petulance of Samir Nasri, Roberto Mancini’s men could easily have emulated the 6-1 slaughter of the Norfolk flutterers on City’s last visit to East Anglia.

Instead a 27,000 crowd feasted on a seven goal extravaganza a damn sight closer to call, with the men from Manchester quite rightly taking the spoils.

Wounded by their ill fortune and ineptitude from the Boxing Day loss at Sunderland, City were full of purpose from the outset carving through the Canaries.

Criticised by their demanding Italian boss, City’s forward line of Aguero and Dzeko blended beautifully like a seasonal mulled wine, with equally tasty results.

Sergio played his part in the Bosnian’s opening brace before converting City’s third goal.

City were one up in 90 seconds thanks to great inter play between Aguero and Silva, beautifully converted by Dzeko.

Within two minutes Captain Fantastic Vincent Kompany was taking absolutely no prisoners as he rampaged out of his 18 yard box, surging 60 yards before laying the ball to the electric Aguero. His precision cross was met with a subtle side foot shot as Dzeko found the back of the Norwich net.


Forget slow cooking and gently basting – the local poultry were being pummelled ready for roasting.

As City celebrated, Norwich were having a collective bleat about a robust Kompany challenge on Brad Johnson during his energetic eddy up field.

One can only surmise that this figured in joker Jones’ ludicrous decision to award Norwich a 15th minute free kick, after Kompany had clearly won the ball cleanly in the tackle from Snodgrass.

It mirrored City’s season long ill fortune that Pilkington’s free kick took a wicked deflection off Clichy and darted past a stranded Joe Hart. Chirps of hope emanated from the home supporters.

City were not to be diverted from their attacking intentions, displaying incisive flair at a tempo lamentably lacking in the majority of matches this season.

The Sky Blues continued on the front foot when Bassong took both ball and Frenchman in a strong challenge on Nasri in the 43rd minute. Nasri reared up at the Cameroon defender and a flicking of foreheads ensued, albeit a million miles removed from a Glasgow kiss.

Ref Jones didn’t see it but his linesman -30 yards away – somehow deduced that Nasri was the only protagonist and off he went. It should have been a case of none or both seeing red – but not to these dubious officials.

Jones the Jerk had indicated early in the match that it was going to be City against 12 men. Imagine his inner delight when he trimmed it to 10 against 12. He turned down two solid penalty appeals from  Aguero and Zabaleta and allowed Norwich keeper Mark Bunn to tip over a Garrido ‘back pass’.

Five minutes into the second half and Aguero span off the last two Norwich defenders onto a splendid Yaya through ball, before nonchalantly lobbing the onrushing Bunn. Just reward for a player giving his all for the cause.

Hart produced a splendid diving stop in the 62nd minute from Howson, but was powerless when slack marking allowed Norwich defender Russell Martin to head home from the ensuing corner.

Cue a Dzeko ‘hat-trick’ that the petty bureaucrats will never sanction. Clichy breaking from defence smashed a 40 yard pass, Dzeko stayed onside and drove a low cross past Bunn. The ball ricocheted off the post onto the keeper and City’s two goal buffer was restored.

It was reduced for the third time when Martin took advantage of a loose ball in the City box and slashed it past Hart.

The game continued to ebb and flow in a see-saw fashion but much maligned men from Manchester were not to be denied.

In the face of adversity – the obligatory idiot match officials included – City showed both class and determination to win through. More of the same can still see City bridge the gap on the narcissistic neighbours.

The over fermented Fergie seems to think the PL is as good as won because Manure will be top on New Year’s Day. However, if City have overhauled that seven point gap by the time Norwich come to the Etihad on May 19, it won’t just be the Canaries on show.

A look across the way into Trafford Borough would also reveal a host of Great Tits…watch the birdie Slur Alexsh!


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