Norwich City vs. Manchester City  3 - 4


Mancini slams Nasri dismissal

29 December 2012 19:47

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said midfielder Samir Nasri's sending off in their 4-3 win over Norwich City was a poor decision.

The midfielder was given his marching orders just before half-time after appearing to headbutt Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong following a strong tackle by the latter.

Nasri will now serve a three-match ban – unless the club protests the red card - which includes City's trip to former side Arsenal on January 13, but Mancini was adamant the Frenchman was innocent.

"It was not a red card. It was not a red card," he told Sky Sports.

"I can't understand why the linesman told the referee it was a red card. Samir did nothing.

"It changed the game. We would have won the game no problem, but with 10 players it was difficult. Norwich is a good team.

"But today we showed that we are there for the title because we (showed) fight."

City were two goals to the good after just four minutes thanks to a double from Edin Dzeko, but a resilient Norwich side battled throughout before eventually succumbing to a 4-3 defeat.

Mancini was pleased to get back to winning ways after the 1-0 loss to Sunderland, but reiterated his belief his team deserved all three points on Boxing Day before dismissing the seven-point gap between themselves and title rivals Manchester United.

He continued: "We played well and deserved to win (against Sunderland), we just failed to score. It is like that every year at Sunderland, we have 21, 22, 23 chances to score, and we don't score. But, that is in the past. We won today.

"It is not important to look at the table. We just need to work, win and win many games in the row. Then we can look at the table in February."

Norwich counterpart Chris Hughton defended Bassong for his actions but lamented a third consecutive loss in the festive season, despite his side's endeavour.

"We conceded poor goals but Manchester City showed the quality they have got," Hughton said.

"They have spent a vast amount of money on quality finishers but you cannot expect to be 2-0 down and have a good day.

"At 4-3 we showed a lot of character and it felt like one of those which might end up going our way. I can't fault the character and the endeavour.

"On the sending off, there was certainly a coming together of heads and certainly a movement from Nasri. Whether that was enough to have a sending off I don't know.

"The referee obviously thought it was. Although there was a coming together, certainly from Seb there was no movement."


Premier League: Norwich City 3 Manchester City 4

29 December 2012 18:19

A 10-man Manchester City have defied Norwich City 4-3 at Carrow Road in an entertaining encounter on Saturday.

City raced into a two-goal lead thanks to an Edin Dzeko brace inside five minutes, but Anthony Pilkington pulled one back before Sergio Aguero got the Blues' third just after the break.

However, Samir Nasri had already received a straight red card in the shadows of the interval, and Norwich exploited their numerical advantage as unlikely scorer Russell Martin pulled a goal back.

Norwich keeper Mark Bunn then failed to keep out a powerful Dzeko strike, knocking the ball into his own net via the woodwork.

And although defender Martin scored a brace to put pressure on the champions late, Roberto Mancini's men held on to win.

Despite losing to Chelsea last time out, Norwich fielded a very similar team as their only change saw the much-maligned Steve Morison started in place of Grant Holt, who picked up a late injury.

Mancini, however, was understandably annoyed with his side's performance against Sunderland with four players suffering in particular. Kolo Toure James Milner, Javi Garcia and Carlos Tevez were all dropped to the bench as Gael Clichy, Gareth Barry, Nasri and Dzeko replaced them.

Last season, Norwich lost 5-1 and 6-1 at the hands of Mancini's side and from the first five minutes it looked like being a similar scoreline. In just the second minute Aguero and Dzeko combined well down the right before floating the ball over to the left for David Silva, who in turn cushioned it into the area and the Bosnian fired it past Bunn for the opener.

Norwich looked a bit stunned and found them even further behind on the visitors' next attack. Vincent Kompany powered through the middle, riding a challenge from Bradley Johnson before picking out Aguero, who took his time and picked out Dzeko who doubled his tally.

After City's impressive start, the match threatened to calm down, but Norwich had other ideas.

Robert Snodgrass' mazy run resulted in a controversial free kick on the edge of the area, and thanks to a deflection from the wall, Pilkington's low effort beat Joe Hart.

Despite the Norwich goal, the champions continued to dominate and almost got a third through Yaya Toure before things turned sour right at the end of the first period as Nasri reacted angrily to a strong challenge from Sebastien Bassong and received a straight red card.

The second period did not go much differently as City soon had their third of the day thanks to Aguero. Toure played a great pass over the Norwich defence, but Bassong failed to deal with it and the Argentine forward delightfully lofted it over Bunn and into the net.

It did not take long for Norwich to hit back, however, and they did so through a well-worked corner. Snodgrass produced an excellent cross that Bassong headed back across goal and Martin put it into the top corner.

City soon restored the two-goal cushion. Another long ball was played over the Norwich defence and after bringing it down with his chest, Dzeko fired the ball on to the post, but it bounced back on to Bunn and went over the line.

At the match went on, it was not getting any less ridiculous and Norwich grabbed a third with just over 15 minutes to go. Hart failed to collect a Norwich corner and after an ensuing scrap, Martin knocked the ball in for his second.

Both sides pressed in the final minutes as Aguero had two very good efforts saved by Bunn, but the champions managed to hold on for the three points.


Norwich ready for City response

29 December 2012 01:24

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton is wary of a strong reaction from Manchester City when the two sides meet on Saturday.

Adam Johnson's second-half strike was enough for Sunderland to run out 1-0 winners over the English Premier League champions on Boxing Day to mark City's third defeat in their past five games in all competitions.

And while Hughton is expecting City to be eager to return to winning ways, he highlighted his side's valiant display against Chelsea as reasons for Roberto Mancini to be concerned.

"Man City will want a reaction and we want one here as well," Hughton told the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press.

"The good thing about top players, we can speak about top players costing a lot of money, but they have great attitudes as well.

"I think most would have expected Man City to win that game. At the moment Sunderland are now picking up form and whether it was a deserved win or not the pendulum appears to have turned. Man City will want a reaction and so do we.

"We're now two games without winning and we want to get back to getting some points again. I don't think we have to improve an awful lot. "

Norwich find themselves sitting in 11th place with 25 points at the season's midway point, one place worse but three points better off than at the same stage last season.

They racked up 47 points last season but missed out on a top-half finish on goal difference, but Hughton is cautious not to set an aim to better such a tally this term.

"There is no points target. It is about producing what we have done in the first part of the season," Hughton said.

"We started slowly, but we got a bit of momentum from a good run. We know what we have to do. It is a tough ask because of the quality of this division and the players and teams you are up against.

"We have to replicate more of that in the second part of the season. We have to try and match what we have done and we have to work just as hard because a lot of teams will be pushing. We want to make life as comfortable as we can for ourselves.

"I think if you had offered that to me at the start of the season then, yes, I would have taken that."


Norwich look to learn from Sunderland

28 December 2012 03:23

Norwich City defender Michael Turner wants his side to take a leaf out of former club Sunderland's book when they face Manchester City.

Sunderland have enjoyed a run of three consecutive 1-0 home wins against the English Premier League champions, the latest coming on Boxing Day, and Turner is looking for the same from Norwich.

He told the club's website: "It'll be a tough game against Manchester City – they're champions of the league and they've got world-class players.

"It's only a few days after Chelsea so it's going to be tough, and they lost to Sunderland so they're going to want to bounce back and beat us. It'll be a tough game whatever happens.

"I think we need to play similarly to the games that we've won here (at Carrow Road), keeping it tight and hopefully create chances, score goals, and get something from the game.

"Sunderland have beaten them 1-0 a few times now and they obviously know what to do against them. We just hope to perform like we have done in recent weeks and hopefully get something from the game."

Norwich's recent game against Chelsea saw the first defeat for Chris Hughton's side at home in five matches and Turner feels his side deserved at least a point after Juan Mata's first-half strike separated the teams.

"It was a tough game, and it was always going to be – they're a top team with some top players," Turner said.

"We knew it was going to be a test and we tried to keep it tight as we have done in other games here against big teams and we did that.

"Going behind was a bit of a disappointment, but we kept plugging away and were maybe a little bit unlucky in the end, we could have got something.

"We didn't create too many chances but we kept in touch with them at 1-0 down, and when you're in that situation then no matter how well or bad you've played there's always a chance that you can get something from the game.

"We were pleased with how we defended in the game and we did limit them to very few chances, but they got that one and went in front which was disappointing."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25