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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
3 December 2011
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 47201
S. Agüero 32'
S. Nasri 51'
Y. Touré 68'
M. Balotelli 88'
A. Johnson 90'+
S. Morison 81'
Thank you for joining us here at Goal.com today for what turned out to be a thrilling encounter at the Etihad Stadium. Be sure to read our live updates for Aston Villa against Manchester United (kick off 17:30).
90' + 4'
Full-time at the Etihad Stadium. A champions performance by Roberto Mancini's men, who run out 5-1 winners here today. An early goal from Kun Aguero began the rout, as City went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. Nasri and Toure struck to make it three, before Morison managed to clinch a consolation with his towering header. Substitutes Johnson and Balotelli then truly ended the contest with two late goals. It is hard to see who will be able to stop City, as their unbeaten streak continues.
90' + 1'
Assist Vincent Kompany
90' + 1'
Goal Adam Johnson
GOAL FOR CITY!! And it's five here at the Etihad! Adam Johnson does fantastically to take the ball down on his chest wide on the right. He skips into the area and places the ball effortlessly into the far corner of the net. This side will take some stopping!
Assist Adam Johnson
Goal Mario Balotelli
GOAL FOR CITY! And it's a beauty! A delightful chip into the box from Yaya Toure is instantly brought under control by Adam Johnson. The young midfielder does really well to turn, before chipping to Balotelli, who shoots at Ruddy before headering in the rebound from a yard. A classic Balotelli celebration, as he walks away looking as though he hates everyone in sight!
Norwich are not giving up here. Surman takes a ball in from the left delightfully on his chest on the edge of the area, before volleying narrowly wide of Hart's goal.
The hosts are trying to slow the game right down now, they don't want to take any risks at 3-1. They play the ball around the midfield before going all of the way back to Joe Hart.
Nigel De Jong
Assist David Fox
Goal Steve Morison
GOAL FOR NORWICH!!! A nice bit of play on the wing from Naughton, before the ball finds its way into the City penalty area. Morison shows great strength to outjump Clichy and power the ball passed Joe Hart.
Some of Norwich's best football of the game leads to two chances in quick succession for Paul Lambert's side. Surman finds himself with space on the edge of the area, but before he can get a shot off he is closed down by the impressive Micah Richards. The ball is then lofted into the City box but Kompany clears acrobatically.
Chance for Dzeko, who powers his way through the Norwich defence with the ball at his feet. Ruddy rushes out to challenge the striker, who attempts to life the ball over the on-rushing stopper but narrowly misses the target.
City have reverted back to their slower tempo, stroking the ball effortlessly around the midfield. Norwich will have to stay disciplined in defence in a hope to frustrate the hosts into making a mistake.
Well this was always the worry for Norwich if they brought on more attacking players. They're starting to lose their shape, as City look more dominant than ever. Balotelli is imminent.
Assist David Silva
Goal Yaya Touré
GOAAAAAAAL FOR CITY!!! A short corner between Silva and Nasri, before the Spaniard feeds the ball to Yaya Toure inside the penalty area. The midfielder expertly opens his body and places the ball in the bottom right corner of Ruddy's goal. Contest over at the Etihad.
The changes have had the desired effect and have slowed the game down a little. Norwich are beginning to see more of possession but at the moment don't look like creating anything.
Roberto Mancini's men are really showing their quality here today. They switch from playing the ball around at a slow tempo to mounting an attack at blistering pace. This is a currently a very one-sided affair.
Paul Lambert makes a double change, switching to a more attacking style. It looks as though this game could be thrown wide open if the away side begin to throw more forwards in attack.
Big chance for City. Richards does absolutely brilliantly dropping the ball off to Silva before racing down the right-hand side. The Spaniard lofts the ball over to him before receving the return ball. Silva then accelerates into the box and shoots, but Ruddy makes the save. Aguero follows up but the visitors' stopper pushes it our for a corner.
City backing off a bit and letting Norwich enjoy some of the possession, but the visitors knock it around on the edge of the hosts' area without finding an opening. You can't help but feel that Lambert may need to add another forward to the attack if the away side are to take anything from this match.
Goal Samir Nasri
GOAL FOR CITY!! And it's very, very soft. Nasri takes a free-kick from out wide on the left 30 yards from the goal. The Norwich defence leave the ball for Ruddy, who expects one of them to clear and watches the ball land in the back of the net. Manchester City 2-0 Norwich.
Roberto Mancini will want another goal here to sure things up for his side, and Nasri nearly creates it. A great ball in from the Frenchman nearly lands at Dzeko's feet, but Tierney manages to stick out a leg and reach it first.
Great chance for Bennett, as a Morrison flick-on finds the striker one-on-one with Hart. He tries to take it round the City keeper instead of shooting first time and over hits it. Goal kick.
Referee Howard Webb gives the signal and Norwich re-start proceedings here at the Etihad.
Here is what our man at the Etihad, Greg Stobart, has to say at half-time: “Half-time at the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City go in at the break with a 1-0 lead over Norwich that is well-deserved for their complete domination of the ball. I would love to see the possession statistics because it has been one-way traffic, with the Premier League leaders working in the Norwich half to try and break down the visitors, who have kept 10 men behind the ball whenever City have been in possession. In fairness, it nearly worked, as City struggled to create chances until Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute with a moment of class."
45' + 2'
Half time at the Etihad Stadium. Roberto Mancini will be happy with his side’s dominating first half performance, they look comfortable on the ball and you can’t help but feel that it is only a matter of time before they get a second. Paul Lambert will have to change something if his side are to get back into the match, as at times they are hopelessly lofting balls to Morrison in the hope of a lucky chance.
45' + 1'
Crofts does well to win a corner off Clichy, but the delivery does not beat the first man and City are able to clear comfortably.
Norwich can't get into the game at all at the moment. Every time they intercept a City pass, they loft it forwards hopefully towards Morrison and the home side mount another attack.
The hosts go back to playing a patient passing game, spreading the ball from side to side across the pitch, searching for an opening. It looks as though Mancini's men are happy to take their 1-0 lead into the break.
Another great piece of play from Yaya Toure. The midfielder shows great vision to loft the ball over the visitors' rearguard and pick out Dzeko in the penalty area. The striker chests it but can't keep his shot down.
This could be a case of how many for City here if Norwich can't regain some composure. Yaya Toure intercepts before giving the ball to Nasri in space. The Frenchman could have taken the shot on, but instead squared to a queue of sky blue shirts. It falls to Aguero but the striker smashes the ball over the bar from 12 yards out.
Assist Micah Richards
Goal Sergio Agüero
GOAAAAAAL FOR CITY! A great through ball to Richards, not for the first time today, sees the right-back break into the box with pace. He feeds if to Aguero, who swivels on the ball before toe-poking it into the bottom-left corner.
While it's been all City so far in attack, credit must be given to Norwich for some stoic defending. They are letting Mancini's men attack them and, for the time being at least, are soaking up everything the hosts can throw at them.
Yellow Card Andrew Surman
Another 'nearly' moment for City. Neat passing between Nasri and Aguero, before the latter nearly finds Dzeko with a neat flick through the middle of Martin and Barnett. The pass is just too hard for the towering striker to latch on to.
The hosts are knocking hard on the door here, as the crowd begin to get behind their side. Kolo Toure plays a great through-ball to get Richards away down the right, but his cross is too high for Dzeko and is cleared.
Goal.com's Greg Stobart, live from the Etihad Stadium: “If you look carefully, you can almost make out a bus shape from the way Norwich have lined up. The visitors have nine men behind the ball at all times when City are in possession, forming a human shield in front of their penalty area. Poor old Steve Morison is completely isolated but the Norwich striker has shown signs that he can harry the City defenders into mistakes.”
Chance for City! Nasri does well to find space in the Norwich penalty area and chips a ball to Aguero at the far post. But the Argentine can't keep his volley down and smashes over from five yards.
The visitors' game plan here seems to be to loft balls deep into City's half for Morrison to chase - and it's actually proving to be quite effective. This time Kompany fails to clear and Norwich win a throw-in.
And it is followed immediately by a chance at the other end. Sergio Aguero gets a yard on his man and shoots from a tight angle from the edge of the box. Ruddy can't gather cleanly but Barnett makes the clearance.
Big chance for Norwich. A clearance from their backline falls to Morrison who races towards Hart's goal. But the striker takes a heavy touch allowing the City stopper to rush out of his goal and clear.
Patient build up from City, with their midfielders playing one-touch 20 yards inside the away side's half. Eventually Gareth Barry attempts to thread a ball through the Norwich defence but it is intercepted.
Quite an open game so far, with Norwich showing that they are not just here to make up the numbers. The home side are trying to get comfortable on the ball but the visitors are pressing all the way up the pitch, allowing them no time on the ball.
City start brightly, as Edin Dzeko turns on the edge of the visitors' area and drags his left-footed strike wide of Paul Ruddy's goal.
The hosts get the action underway.
Norwich last beat City, who are currently on a run of 11 consecutive victories at home, in 2001 at Carrow Road. But that won’t deter Paul Lambert’s men, who will be looking to get in the hosts faces from the start in order to cement a position in the top half of the table.
Interesting to see that Roberto Mancini has elected to leave in-form striker Mario Balotelli, who served a one-match ban midweek for seeing red against Liverpool last weekend, on the bench.
Norwich: Ruddy; Naughton, R Martin, Barnett, Tierney; Bennett, Crofts, Johnson, Pilkington, Surman; Morison. Subs: Rudd, Whitbread, Holt, Jackson, Hoolahan, Fox, Wilbraham
Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, K Toure, Clichy; Y Toure, Barry; Nasri, Silva, Aguero; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, De Jong, Milner, A Johnson, Balotelli
Before the action gets underway, let’s take a look at the line-ups.
Good afternoon, and welcome to Goal.com’s live commentary of what promises to be an exciting encounter between Manchester City and Norwich at the Etihad Stadium. City have the opportunity to go eight points clear of rivals Manchester United, although possibly only for a few hours as United is today’s evening kick-off, while Norwich will be looking to continue with their impressive start in the top flight.
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