Manchester City failed to capitalise on Arsenal’s defeat yesterday as they were held by a defensively resolute Norwich side. The performance was reminiscent of some of last season’s stalemates on the road and a return of one point from a possible six in the last two games has seen City slip to 3rd in the Premier League table. Here is a look at the player performances.
Joe Hart – 7
Didn’t have a great deal to do and was generally comfortable with anything that went his way. Looks more like the Joe Hart of old and his position as City’s number one is secure if Costel Pantilimon’s performances since Hart’s return are anything to go by.
Pablo Zabaleta – 7
Arguably City’s most consistant performer. He links up superbly with Jesus Navas down the right but for all his attacking intent nothing came off for the Argentine, as was the case for the rest of the team.
Vincent Kompany – 7
A few moments of shakiness, perhaps caused by a lack of concentration, when receiving the ball in safe positions were slightly disconcerting. That said, a typically robust and solid performance from the captain. City are better with him in the side. It really is that simple.
Martin Demichelis – 6
Divides opinion amongst the City faithful. However, his reading of the game and aerial ability make him a valuable asset. Was very fortunate to get a freekick when he completely misjudged a header to let Norwich through on goal. With neither Matija Nastasic or Joleon Lescott making the centre-back position their own it is understandable why Pellegrini uses Demichelis as much as he does.
Gael Clichy – 6
A fairly solid performance from the Frenchman. Seemed more inclined to cross in advanced positions than usual which was good to see. On his day he is City’s best left back even considering Aleks Kolarov’s improved form this season.
James Milner – 6
Milner is always going to put in a shift and that is exactly what he did yesterday. There is no doubt that City missed the dynamism of Fernandinho in the heart of midfield but given the current injury list expect Milner to feature in central midfield against Sunderland on Wednesday.
Yaya Toure – 6
A game in which Yaya failed to impose himself. Again, it is games like this when Fernandinho’s importance to the side is demonstrated. His understanding with Yaya makes the Ivorian better and allows him to get forward more freely.
David Silva – 7
Quite possibly City’s best player and his ability to retain possession under pressure is a joy to behold given his diminutive frame. Yesterday showed that City are sometimes over reliant on his creative abilities. The sooner Samir Nasri returns to relieve the burden on the Spaniard the better.
Jesus Navas – 7
One of the brightest sparks for City in the last two games but nothing quite came off for him against Norwich. He is often heavily marked and wasn’t as devastating as he can be. Some of his corners failed to beat the first man and in game against a resolute defence like Norwich that is counterproductive, at best.
Steven Jovetic – 7 (man of the match)
A tantalising glimpse of what he can offer. Always on the front foot and tries to link up play in ways that other players cant. Looks like he could be a real gem if he can stay fit. That beautiful chipped finish he pulled off which was wrongly ruled out for offside was beautiful. It was disappointing to see him substituted after an hour in a game we were chasing but it understandable given his recent injury record.
Alvaro Negredo – 6
Came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the crossbar but failed to have the desired impact throughout the game. His performances away from the Etihad aren’t quite the same which is something he needs to address.
Edin Dzeko – 5
Hard to think of anything positive that the Bosnian did when he was brought on to replace Jovetic. A day to forget.
Aleksandar Kolarov – 6
Brought on to play on the left of midfield, possibly with the idea of providing service to Dzeko. Bar a few long range efforts his contribution was minimal.
In an increasingly hysterical world, I will leave you with this:
We might win the league, we might not win the league, but Christ it wasn't decided today. #mcfc
— David Mooney (@DavidMooney) February 8, 2014
Written by Rob Toole