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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
29 December 2012
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 26827
A. Pilkington 15'
R. Martin 63', 75'
E. Džeko 2', 4'
S. Agüero 50'
M. Bunn 67' (own goal)
And that ladies and gents is it from me. Hope I helped you enjoy your afternoon wherever you're following from. It's been great fun! See you around.
Man of the match was Aguero for me. Dzeko up there as well. Flop? Nasri - just a petulant, stupid reaction to a tackle.
That was one of the most enjoyable matches I've watched this year although I'd suggest Mancini may not have been quite as pleased. Nasri's sending off threatened to cost them the game but Aguero's brilliance and Dzeko's clinical instincts ensured the champions picked up a much-needed three points. Remember Manchester United lost here...
90' + 7'
FULL-TIME: Norwich 3-4 Manchester City.
90' + 6'
Mancini smiles from his technical area, he knows his side have done enough.
90' + 5'
CHANCE! I almost so wrong. Snodgrass delivers a dangerous ball but Lescott just beats Jackson to the ball, heading into Nastasic and then back into Hart's hands. That should be it...
90' + 4'
Aguero's walk off the pitch took a good minute so there will be further time added on. Still, it's disrupted the rhythm so much that Norwich just can't get anything going.
90' + 3'
90' + 2'
Aguero has been outrageous today and he almost scores one of this season's great goals. He counterattacks on his own, glides past one challenge, gets just enough of a burst to go past the second before jinking back onto his right and firing at goal, but Bunn is aware enough to hold on and save down low. Garcia is on for Aguero.
90' + 1'
Well that injury has really helped City who get a good minute's breather. Look like Javi Garcia is coming on for the final stages. 5 (FIVE) minutes added on...
More pressure from the hosts but City remain vigilent and even look good on the break. That was until Yaya Toure overhit his final pass. Meanwhile Nastasic is down after taking a studs-up challenge from Martin.
Well City are finally defending well and eating up the clock as much as they can. They may just hold on. Milner wins a free kick in the corner.
Decent effort as Bassong nods down the deep cross for his central defensive partner Turner to latch onto. However he can't wrap his foot around the ball and it hits the side netting from about 10 yards out.
City break after clearing the danger and almost find Aguero in on goal again but Norwich snuff out the danger. On the attack at the other end, Jackson wins a free kick from Kompany.
Yellow Card Anthony Pilkington
City concede a free kick on the edge of the box as Kompany clumsily brings Kane down. He looks in pain and hobbles away and City have to defend another dangerous set piece.
CHANCE! Yaya Toure trundles around on the edge of the box holding off an entire midfield, before sliding Aguero in on goal, but he is denied by the sharp reflexes of Bunn. Cracking save. Nothing comes of the corner.
Here we go then. Lescott is on for Dzeko, who can be very pleased with his contribution today. This is it. Batten down the hatches time.
Every time I think Norwich are out of this, they fight back. I dare say there will be more goals in this one...
So that's two corners City have conceded from and you can see the fury in Mancini's face as he rants away to himself on the bench.
Assist Bradley Johnson
Goal Russell Martin
GOAL!!! So City delay bringing Lescott on and Norwich score from a corner. Hart doesn't deal with the initial ball and after a couple of ricochets, Martin turns it home for his second of the game. 4-3!
Norwich continue to give it a good go and Harry Kane wins a corner off of Nastasic. Simeon Jackson is coming on for Hoolahan and for City, Lescott is preparing to enter the fray.
Just to reiterate, I'm pretty sure that will go down as an own goal for Mark Bunn. It came off the post and off his back. Simple no?
We're back down the other end for a series of corners for Norwich but City defend both well, winning their battles.
They're not relenting! Aguero's brilliant touch takes him past Bassong, into the box and up to Bunn but his clipped finish hits the side netting. Honestly, I think this is the best he's played this season.
Own Goal Mark Bunn
So, just when you think it's done and dusted, Norwich go and get themselves back into the contest again. The atmosphere is building and we've still got 25 minutes to play!
Assist S. Bassong
Goal Russell Martin
GOAL!!! The corner is taken short and Snodgrass flings a deep cross for Bassong to head back across goal. Russell Martin steals in and guides his header to the back post. 3-2!
Howson's made an immediate impact and it is him again who drives at goal forcing Hart into a good low save, corner for Norwich...
And there he is again... Aguero is free in the box and with two defenders for company, he shifts inside and fires at goal. Bassong does just enough to take the sting out of the shot though and it trickles through to Bunn. At the other end Hart wanders out of his goal to punch clear the danger.
Howson's first involvement is a big tackle on Aguero on the touchline. The forward looks unperturbed though, and why would he? He's giving Norwich the run around today.
Oooh, that has to count as a chance for Norwich but Snodgrass, who perhaps doesn't expect the ball to come to him, plants his header straight into the ground and over the bar.
Time for a couple of changes: Milner replaces Silva for City while Hughton brings Howson on for Tettey.
Two consecutive corners come to nothing but Mancini won't mind, his team remain dominant even with 10 men. It will be difficult for Norwich to come back from here.
More brilliance from Aguero who makes a mockery of Turner as he dribbles into the box. He pauses, waits for Yaya Toure, tees him up and...the big man blazes it over the bar (albeit with a slight deflection. Corner.
Yellow Card Bradley Johnson
That is a truly brilliant goal from Aguero - his 7th of the season. The ball forward from Yaya Toure is full of quality and Aguero nips in behind a dozy Bassong and clips the ball over Bunn and into the net. Great goal.
Goal Sergio Agüero
GOAL!!! It's come from nothing but Aguero has turned the ball beyond Bunn to give City a 3-1 lead.
The free kick is well defended by Norwich but Silva takes an almighty whack as they try to break. I *think* he's ok...
Nice work from Norwich though and Harry Kane wins a free kick about 35 yards out for a foul by Yaya Toure.
Well City have started as they left off - plenty of neat possession play. No changes for either side just yet.
We are back underway at Carrow Road.
Right then, we're almost back underway. This is a pivotal half for City.
So. Red card? Not for me. Think it was a bit soft. It was stupid from Nasri to react and shove his head in Bassong's face but it wasn't a headbutt and more just a standard Nasri reaction to something not going his way. Mancini's face was a picture though - confused anger I'd call it.
What a half! City lead, they perhaps should be further ahead but now they're in trouble as they've got 45 minutes with ten men in a ground just waiting for something to inspire them. BIg half coming up.
45' + 3'
HALF-TIME: Norwich 1-2 Manchester City
45' + 1'
In amongst the madness, Norwich have replaced Morison who is injured with Harry Kane, the Tottenham loanee, who has just returned from injury himself.
It was hard to see why Nasri got red carded on first look but as he squared up to Bassong he moved his head towards the Cameroonian and flicked his hand at him. Petulant but that's Nasri for you and from a position of massive dominance City are now in trouble.
Yellow Card S. Bassong
Red Card Samir Nasri
RED CARD! Nasri has been SENT OFF!
BANG! Big challenge from Bassong on Nasri as Arsenal v Spurs rivalries are rekindled.
Barry takes a sore one in midfield but City play on and continue to dominate possession. They've had 65% of the ball this half. Not bad for a team on the road and allegedly out of form.
CHANCE! That is almost brilliant. In fact it is brilliant, it just lacked the finish. Nasri with his back to goal, cushions Barry's pass to Yaya Toure, who lashes a first time shot across goal and just inches wide of Bunn's far post. Almost 3-1.
Kompany is playing very well for the visitors - this is the form we were used to seeing last season. The skipper made an impressive interception as Hoolahan tried to wriggle free of his attention.
Silva thinks about marauding into the box before cutting back and sliding a pass to Dzeko. The Bosnian fires a shot at goal on his left from outside the box but it is blocked.
CHANCE! City's corner finds Kompany at the near post but his powerful header is well blocked on the line by Snodgrass and Norwich clear.
Another good move from City as Yaya Toure clips a ball to the back post for Zabaleta to nod back inside to Dzeko. Garrido is aware of the danger though and heads over his own bar for another City corner.
Dzeko decides he wants to get involved in the build-up and muscles his way onto the ball before being well tackled by the Norwich defence.
Aguero looks so dangerous today. He's incredibly sharp and moving with menace but this time as he tries to tackle back he brings down Tettey to give Norwich a chance to recover.
Nice spell from Norwich as most of the midfield get involved in some promising build-up. Unfortunately for them, when the ball eventually comes into the box, Clichy meets the aerial challenge to head away.
Perhaps I was right...City are stroking the ball about nicely but with little forward purpose.
I'm tempted to say we're reaching a bit of a lull but I don't think that's the case. Just a quick breather before these two go at it again. Great half of football so far.
The Canaries take the direct approach from a free kick on the halfway line, punting towards Morison. The striker can only head on harmlessly for a goal kick.
Nothing comes directly from the corner but Johnson eventually clears behind for another corner. Norwich look solid defending set pieces.
City break and it's led by Aguero who ties the midfield in knots before attempting to feed Nasri to his right. The pass doesn't make it through but the rebound off Garrido almost flies over Bunn for the third goal, but the deputy keeper makes an acrobatic save.
Barry has just been tackled by the referee Mike Jones! Shame for the midfielder as it looked like he was lining up a shot as the ball fell on the edge of the box. Amusing though.
This little surge from Norwich has Mancini prowling about his technical box. He doesn't look best pleased to be honest, possibly because his side have taken their foot off the pedal after such a strong start.
The free kick comes to nothing but after ricocheting around on the edge of the box Snodgrass tries to bend a left-footed effort into the far top corner from about 25 yards. No problem for Hart though, who watches it sail wide.
Yellow Card Gael Clichy
First booking of the game as Clichy chops Snodgrass down from behind on the touchline.
Nasri crosses for Aguero and as he tries to latch onto the loose ball, it briefly looks as though Bassong fouls the striker. Mike Jones is having none of it though and waves away the appeals.
What a start to this match! Just when I thought it would be a walkover for City (and it still might be), Norwich reply. There was more than a touch of fortune in both the award of the free kick and the actual strike.
Goal Anthony Pilkington
GOAL!!! Anthony Pilkington stands over the free kick and curls it around the wall. It's low and hard and definitely takes a deflection of Clichy and rebounds past Hart, who is wrong-footed. Game on!
Better from Norwich who finally get their foot on the ball but it results in a generous decision from Mike Jones, who awards the home side a free kick right on the edge of the box for Kompany's tackle on Hoolahan. It was 100% not a foul.
Patient stuff from City until Barry knocks a long ball up towards Dzeko. Bassong gets enough on the ball to prevent the Bosnian getting a touch on the ball but as it drops, Aguero strikes a half volley over the bar.
City look dangerous everytime they rove forward and this time after some neat interplay in midfield, Zabaleta wins a corner.
The Canaries try to mount something of an attack but Pilkington's deep cross is cut out by Joe Hart who sweeps up well behind his defence with Morison lurking.
Norwich have a moan at Mike Jones for what they perceived to be a foul in the build-up to the second goal as Kompany lunged in on Johnson. It looked fine to me but these days players are sometimes pulled up on tackles like that.
Assist Sergio Agüero
Goal Edin Dzeko
GOAL!!! City double their lead almost immediately! Norwich try to build an attack but after Kompany deals with the danger, City break quickly. His ball to Aguero brings Bunn out of his goal and into no-mans land and the Argentine rolls the ball across the box for Dzeko to roll into the net. 2-0! What a start from the champions!
Assist David Silva
Goal Edin Dzeko
City launch a counter and Aguero from the right clips a ball to the back post that Silva deftly side-foots back into the box for the waiting Dzeko to stroke confidently past Bunn in the Norwich net. The perfect start!
GOAL!!! Manchester City take the lead after just a minute and a half. Edin Dzeko gets the goal.
Norwich start brightly but Kompany snuffs out the danger as Morison collects and tries to turn on the edge of the box.
We are underway at Carrow Road.
The teams are out and we're just moments away from kick off
Beware though, Mr Hughton, because you have lost your last two matches and Sergio Aguero has scored twice against you in the last two matches he's featured in. The power of two-ness.
I don't think this will be a walk in the park for Mancini and Co. despite winning their last five encounters with Norwich. The hosts boast an identical recent record, winning four, drawing two and losing two in their previous eight games.
So Roberto Mancini shakes it up a bit after the loss at Sunderland, dropping the man who netted a hat-trick on this very ground last season. Carlos Tevez is still on the bench but Sergio Aguero is joined by Edin Dzeko up front today, while Nasri also returns to the starting XI. Chris Hughton is without Grant Holt so Welshman Steve Morison will lead the line for the Canaries with a midfield five of Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Hoolahan and Pilkington providing the ammunition.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Toure, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Toure, Tevez.
Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Elliott Bennett, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Kane.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the play-by-play coverage of Norwich v Manchester City with me, Jay Jaffa. If you want to get in touch with your thoughts, drop me a line on Twitter - @jayjaffa. Otherwise just sit back and follow the drama unfold in another massive Premier League fixture.
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