NORWICH CITY 0, MANCHESTER CITY 0
Manchester City missed the chance to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League when they were held 0-0 by a stubborn Norwich City side, missing the chance to return to the top of the league after Liverpool thrashed Arsenal at Anfield and Chelsea comfortably beat Newcastle United to leapfrog them both to the top of the league.
Jittery City, beaten by Chelsea at the Etihad last Monday, had earlier beaten the Canaries 7-0 at home last November but were injury hit and short on confidence as they arrived at Carrow Road after a comprehensive tactical defeat by Jose Mourinho’s team only to fail to score in consecutive matches for the first time in over two years.
Under pressure manager Chris Hughton instead ensured his Norwich side were more measured in defence, keeping City limited to long range half chances had a goal correctly disallowed from Gary Hooper when following an early chance by Nathan Redmond to open the scoring.
In comparison, City lacked urgency and intensity and were shotless in the first half thanks to a conservative approach. Only Jesus Navas presented a threat while both of City’s front men, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic looked ring-rusty and were reduced to poor long range half chances by a general lack of service and a reticence to overcommit to attack despite a majority of possession.
City contrived to manage just two shots on target in the second half and were hanging on at the end when chances for sub Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Anthony Pilkington went begging.
Recent injuries to the likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Fernandinho plus Jovetic, Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia have proved to be problematic to City who could be without influential midfielder Yaya Toure when a kick aimed by the Ivorian on Van Wolfswinkel was missed by the referee.
Retrospective action could be taken that might see City struggling to fill midfield during a month that could determine the immediate future of City’s much vaunted ‘Quadruple’.