Blues fail to score for second successive game
FA Premier League
Saturday 8 February 2014, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Clichy, Navas, Milner, Toure, Silva, Jovetic (Dzeko 61), Negredo (Kolarov)
Unused: Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Rodwell, Lopes
Referee: Jon Moss
Man of the Match: Stevan Jovetic
Despite bossing the early possession, City were finding Norwich difficult to break through. A mistake by Yobo was nearly punished by Silva, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet, before Redmond broke clear of the visiting defence on the hosts’ right. His shot, though, was high and wide of Hart’s near post.
An offside flag saved the Blues from early embarrassment, too – a corner was nodded towards goal and it took a great save from Hart to keep it out. He could do nothing about Hooper’s follow-up, but the Norwich man was offside from the initial effort.
Jovetic pulled off a delightful chipped finish from a Negredo lay-off, but it was never going to count as the linesman’s flag had gone up against the Spaniard from Kompany’s ball forward. It was a bad call, with the striker onside, and the finish from the Montenegrin was sublime – not that it matered.
Milner and Jovetic did well to keep possession in tight areas on the edge of the Norwich area, but Navas’s low cross could only force a corner. From that flag-kick, Demichelis flicked the ball into the middle where Negredo was waiting and his header crashed back off the crossbar.
With three minutes of the half to play, Jovetic came close to opening the scoring, but for a good save from Ruddy. Silva got in behind the Norwich defence to cross for the Montengrin on the edge of the area, but the striker’s volleyed effort was straight at the goalkeeper, who was able to gather at the second attempt.
Ten minutes into the second half, City should have been in front. A quick break by Negredo picked out Jovetic on the edge of the box and the Montenegrin chipped for Zabaleta in the middle. It was just behind the full-back, who was able to flick the cross to Navas behind him, but the Spaniard’s shot was blocked by a great last-ditch challenge.
Hooper and Martin linked up on the edge of the City box to work space for the shot, with the former holding off Demichelis to return the ball to the latter. Hooper unleashed a volley towards goal from the corner of the area, but he got too much underneath it and fired well over the bar.
City were piling on the pressure with 20 minutes to play, but just couldn’t seem to find a way through the Norwich defence. Demichelis missed a free header inside the area, before Negredo and Dzeko got in each other’s way inside the six-yard box. Milner’s long-range effort was blocked to Toure, while his strike was deflected behind for a corner.
The visitors’ chances of going back to the top of the league following Arsenal’s defeat earlier in the day were slipping – a free-kick routine failed to produce a shot, while Dzeko should have done better as Milner picked him out at the back post. The Bosnian, though, bounced his header over. Navas tried an effort across goal, but nobody gambled at the back post to dive in to the cross.
Norwich suddenly came to live with two minutes remaining and could have stolen the points: Twice low balls into the box caused the visitors problems, with the first missed by everybody and the second blocked by Hart – who needed Demichelis to complete the clearance.
Two blanks in a row for City, heading into a crucial run of games.