• Karel L.

Manchester City can't get enough of winning and beats Norwich

Manchester City defeated Norwich who, by the way, had a great attitude in the first half and could have complicated things. Thanks to this victory, City continues to increase its advantage over its closest competitors.


The analysis

As I said last game, as of this month we are entering that time of the year when an alternative team plays on weekends and during the week, which is where the most important games are played, the first team plays.


This, as I made clear last time, does not mean that one is inferior to the other, in fact, the team presented today was quite solid, with Zinchenko and Walker on the wings and Aké accompanying Ruben in central defense.


Now, talking about the match, it was clear from the start that City played a very vertical game intending to focus everything on the wingers, as there were constantly long passes to either Sterling or Mahrez who were alone and who throughout the match won the backs of the defenders without any problem.


The latter was possible because Norwich defended by block, which means that if the ball went to the right they followed it, they did not defend personally, which freed up the winger on the opposite side of the pitch.

On the tactical side, Guardiola's team continues to repeat the model that has led them to success, that is, when attacking, the two full-backs are positioned next to Fernandinho in midfield to give City better ball handling and better distribution.


Having said that there is someone I need to mention now and who I will also talk about later in the players of the match and that is none other than Sterling.


The guy has been one of the best in the team for a while now and today he proved it, although there are still problems with his decision making in the last area of the pitch, the reality is that he looks like a more mature guy and with much more confidence, something that is reflected on the field every time he touches the ball.


I think Raheem is currently one of the best players in the Premier League for his ability to be constantly moving and rotating positions, the Englishman understands perfectly when to move to the wing, to the center, and even to the defense.

Changing the subject and taking advantage of the fact that we are talking about special recognitions, I would also like to highlight Norwich's attitude. It is often frustrating to see games where the opponent only defends and makes no attempt to score, but this was not the case here, the home side came out to win the game and in fact could have scored first than us, so a competitive game is always to be appreciated.

By the second half City controlled the game again and stopped wearing themselves out to the point that it almost looked like a training session with a crowd, which by the way is a smart move especially considering the number of games coming up.


Before talking about the negative points there is something else I would like to highlight. Some time ago I was very critical of Guardiola for not giving minutes to the young players, but I think that has changed and that's why it also deserves a mention.


Little by little, we see how the young talents of the club like McAtee, Delap, or Kayky are getting more and more minutes with the first team and it is clear thanks to that that we have a bright future.

Finally, and as the only negative point I want to highlight the excessive lack of concentration that was seen in the first minutes, I understand that Norwich is not the most complicated opponent, but that does not mean that they could not complicate the game.


During the first minutes they had chances to score, there is even a play where the ball hits the post and Fernandinho saves it, all caused by wrong passes, so it seems to me that this is an aspect that needs to be corrected.


Key moments

The match was marked by 3 important moments.


- 30' Sterling goal: Raheem came out inspired today and the proof of that was this goal, which gave us the chance to go into the half-time break on top against an opponent that was defending quite well.

- 47' Foden's goal: Another key moment was the second goal of the match, as it came just after half-time and demoralized the opponent, who had probably gone into the second half thinking about how to equalize.

- 90' Hat-Trick by Sterling: As I said, Sterling had a spectacular game and it was at this point that he secured his third goal.


Players of the Match

Obviously, this part has to start talking about Sterling and the incredible game he played.


Some of you pointed out that in the previous text I did not emphasize Raheem as much as I should have done, because his game against Brentford was also quite spectacular and to tell the truth you are right.


At the beginning of the season, Sterling became an extremely hated player, many in fact were already asking for his transfer, but the reality is that he has become a key player in the team.


As I mentioned before, the guy understands the game very well and that helps him to be in the right place at the right time.


In second place is Fernandinho, our eternal captain who never ceases to surprise me every time he enters the field.


His ability to retrieve the ball is something that is rarely seen in this sport and that is why he deserves recognition, in addition, his vision of the field is like no other.

Finally, there is Bernardo, who today was seen much more free on the field, in fact, I think he was in charge of indicating the tempo of the game, so he also deserves to be here.


Post-match reactions

· Sterling spoke about the importance of being persistent. "We said last week, we go one step at a time, we knew to keep chipping away at it. It’s football, you’re going to get chances, you have to keep going and getting in the right areas, keep shooting and the goals will come." [via @ManCity]

· He also emphasized that the team should not become complacent despite the good results. "Consistency and the mindset to keep wanting to do better and win [is key]. Not to rest on our laurels and that's the only way we will get better. To be a top team it’s every three days. That's the challenge for us to win every three days." [via @ManCity]

· Finally, our coach highlighted the good game Raheem played. "Raheem Sterling made a brilliant first goal and the second he was there. You realise his confidence, aggression. In the last game he made an excellent action. He always creates something." [via @SkySportsPL/@ManCityMEN]


Who's next?

Manchester City will face Sporting Lisboa on Tuesday, February 15.