MAN CITY 5, NORWICH CITY 0
Manchester City produced a display worthy of champions with a resounding victory against newly promoted Norwich City at the Etihad.
After the opening-game defeat at Tottenham, Pep Guardiola’s side resumed normal service with a dominant display over the East Anglian side.
There were five different goalscorers – Jack Grealish on his home debut, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez as well as an unlucky own goal from Canaries’ goalkeeper Tim Krul.
And with two thirds possession and goal attempts 16-1 in their favour, those statistics underlined City dominance.
They also recorded back-to-back 5-0 home wins against Norwich, and this was also the fifth time City have scored five or more goals against them in the Premier League.
For Norwich, also beaten 3-0 at home by Liverpool in their first match, it looks like being a long, hard season and a battle against an immediate return to the Championship which happened in 2019-20.
They have now suffered 12 straight defeats in the Premier League and have failed to score in 11 of those games.
Guardiola was delighted to see City pick up their first points of the season.Embed from Getty Images
“We are not at the top of our game and still have a lot to do, but every day we are getting better,” he said.
“We were very good, and I am happy for that. These were our first points of the season and hopefully they will not be the last. It was important to get our first victory.”
Guardiola added it was important for Grealish to get his first goal for City, adding there is a lot more to come from him.
City’s manager also praised Jesus who played a more unfamiliar role wide right as opposed to his more familiar central striking role.
He said: “Gabriel likes to play wider rather than in a central position.
“The best moments for me as a manager winning titles is working with humans like Gabriel.
“He never complains, even if he only plays five minutes. He is happy to play right, left or in the centre.
“Gabriel was involved in three or four of the goals and is an incredibly important player for us.
“Congratulations to him. He deserves the best because he is so generous.”
There were no complaints from Norwich manager Daniel Farke who said: “Congratulations to Manchester City whose win was well deserved.
“We said before the start it would be an unbelievably tough task with City presented with silverware for the first time in front of a home crowd.
“It was clear it was going to be a big ask to get something from the game.
“I was disappointed with the result and disappointed with the way we conceded the goals.
“We will speak about the goals. The players will be criticised which we accept. We will regroup and go again. We win as a team and lose as a team.”
Guardiola made five changes as he bid to stem a run of five defeats in seven games dating back to the tail-end of last season.
Laporte, Kyle Walker, Rodri, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva were all recalled with Sterling among those to drop to the bench.
However, there was no Kevin De Bruyne as an ankle knock kept the Belgian out.
Norwich, meanwhile, were unchanged from the side that marked the Canaries’ return to the Premier League with a 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool last Saturday.
Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell, who both scored when Norwich shocked City 3-2 at Carrow Road two seasons ago, each started while defender Andrew Omobamidele made the bench after recovering from tonsilitis.
A challenging afternoon for Norwich became even more so when they fell behind as early as the seventh minute though an unfortunate own goal from Krul.
Jesus drove in a low cross from the right only for centre back Grant Hanley’s clearance to hit the hapless Canaries’ keeper on its way into the net.
City were unlucky not to double their lead after quarter of an hour when they had a goal disallowed following the intervention of VAR.
Jesus released Ferran Torres who slotted home shot, but referee Graham Scott was alerted to claims of a foul by Bernardo Silva on Milos Rashica in the build-up.
VAR official Jonathan Moss, who was at Stockley Park, advised Scott to go to the pitchside monitor. And after viewing the incident, he ruled out the goal, though there was a hint Rashica had slipped.
It was merely delaying the inevitable as Grealish made it 2-0 midway through the half with his first goal for the club.
Walker released Jesus on the right and his low cross deflected off Max Aarons to find Grealish free at the far post to convert, though it appeared to go in off his shin.
Norwich, needing a change of approach, made a double change at the break as Lukas Rupp and Dimitris Giannoulis were replaced by Bali Mumba and Kenny McLean.
Rodri and Jesus had chances to extend City’s lead early in the second half but failed to hit the target.
City made their first change on the hour when Torres made way for Sterling.
The third goal arrived midway through the second half from an unlikely source, centre back Laporte.
Ilkay Gundogan’s corner ricocheted off Pierre Lees-Melou to Laporte who threaded home a shot low to Krul’s left.
City’s second change in the 68th minute saw Gundogan replaced by 19-year-old Cole Palmer who was making his Premier League debut.
Minutes later it was 4-0 as Jesus provided his second assist of the game, a low cross from the right which was swept home by Sterling from six yards.
And City’s third and final change with 15 minutes left saw Mahrez take over from Grealish.
Norwich’s first goal attempt of the game came in the 78th minute when Rashica cut in from the left, but his effort cleared the bar by some distance.
City showed how it ought to be done as Mahrez added a fifth goal in the 84th minute.
Ruben Dias’ long ball over the Norwich defence found Mahrez who coolly pulled the ball down and fired low past Krul and in off the upright.