Manchester City looked a bit out of step against Spurs last weekend and crashed in a 1-0 defeat. Perhaps the home side were pushed to show Harry Kane what he would miss if he traded London for Manchester, which prompted the team to defeat the Blues.
But against Norwich on Saturday afternoon, City recalled what they could do and why the fools who, after just one game, had already started to erase the blues.
City have a decent record against the Canaries, and the last time these two met City beat them 5-0. And after being beaten 3-0 at Carrow Road by Liverpool, visiting fans reportedly feared the worst when they faced a side that felt like they had something to prove.
And the Blues did just that, dominating from start to finish so that no Norwich player managed to touch the ball inside the city’s area in the first half, while the blues rushed at every opportunity.
With new boy Jack Grealish taking the left wing, one would have expected Raheem Sterling to start on the right. But Pep Guardiola instead decided to play Gabriel Jesus on the right with Ferran Torres up front.
And it highlighted why Guardiola is considered one of the best managers in the world.
Jesus excelled on the wing to the point where City used the right as the main outlet for attacks. It was his ball in front of goal in the 11e minute that shoved Norwich, before putting the ball into their own goal. But it’s his chest control and his first time in the danger zone that seems like a different side to his game. In the past, he might have been inclined to try and take on the defender, but instead from that he threw the ball into the danger zone, which turned out to be the right choice.
And the Brazilian’s awareness of preparing Torres to score the soon-to-be-denied second goal will have made Guardiola think that the right side as a supplier, rather than the center as a target man, would be best suited for the game of Jesus. .
Jesus leaves 11 minutes later when the excellent Kyle Walker releases him beyond the Norwich defense. His ball bounced off Grealish’s knee, like Edin Dzeko 6-1, for the former Villa man to score his first goal for City.
It was a lucky goal, but he won’t care too much and neither will the City fans. The important thing was that Grealish was in exactly the right place an attacker should be, precisely for crosses like that.
Defenders take over
City’s defense was pretty solid last season, but it seems, along with Jesus, that they also improved their game. You’d expect big defenders to come up for corners and that’s exactly what they did. Aymeric Laporte, but the poise he showed in taking his goal was something different. He had time and space, but Laporte didn’t panic when the ball came towards him and just hit him like a training ground game. Laporte knew exactly where he wanted to put the ball, chose his spot and saw the 2-0 turn 3-0.
It was recently reported that Laporte would be cleared to leave if an offer of Â£ 60million was received. The defender wants first-team football but his performance against Norwich would indicate that City would be foolish to let him go. Much like with John Stones, Ruben Dias has formed an excellent partnership with the Spain international, moping up whatever the Canaries could throw at them.
Some might say, and on social media they’ve done it before, that it was only Norwich doing visitors a huge disservice. They are not in the Premier League selection, they have won their place in the top flight and will need time to find their feet. But it must be remembered that it was newly promoted Norwich who inflicted a surprise 3-2 loss on City two seasons ago. And when you look at Brentford’s win over Arsenal on Matchday 1, and the ensuing draw at Crystal Palace, it shows that the newly promoted sides are not to be taken for granted as whip boys of the division. .
In the 71st minute, it was still this man Jesus who provided substitute Sterling to bring the score to 4-0, but it was Walker’s pass that scored the goal. Jesus timed his run perfectly to stay inside and Walker’s defense separation pass found the Brazilian in plenty of space, and his first ball let Norwich chase the shadows and Tim Krul again recovered the ball in the net.
It’s a position Sterling has found himself in on several occasions, but having Jesus as a supplier again adds a new dimension to City’s wing play, and one wonders if City really need Harry Kane up front. .
Mahrez added a fifth with six minutes left, but this time the assist did not come from the midfielder, but rather from Dias’ foot. Not only does the defender stop goals at one end, but he delivers on the other.
His vision of picking Mahrez with such a pass would make you think Kevin de Bruyne had been on the pitch all this time, just disguised as various other City players, and if the Blues can continue to provide assists and scorers. ‘anywhere throughout the set. season, then another Premier League title could well arrive at Etihad next May.