Carlos Tevez’s self-imposed exile from the Manchester City team in the 2011/12 season did, at one point, look like it would have a drastic effect of the club’s Premier League title aspirations that season. Upon his return to the team on 21st March, coming on as a sub in the 2-1 win at home to Chelsea, he almost had an immediate impact. His assist for Samir Nasri’s winner demonstrated what City had been missing in his absence. Clearly not at full fitness, it took the Argentine forward a number of weeks to reach his peak but when he did he had a telling impact of what would be a historic and dramatic late surge to the title. That was no more apparent than when the Blues travelled to East Anglia to face Norwich on a gloriously sunny Spring afternoon.
In tandem with his compatriot, Sergio Aguero, Tevez soon set about terrorising the Canaries’ back-line. The pair playing together were a lethal combination and this game, arguably more so than any other, showed them at their lethal best. Although Norwich threatened early on, Tevez opened the scoring early in the first half with a swerving thunderbolt strike form outside the area to beat the Canaries ‘keeper, John Ruddy, at his near post. Aguero doubled the Blues’ lead with another fantastic goal which demonstrated the almost telepathic relationship between the Argentine forwards. A quick one two with a cute Tevez back-heel allowed Kun to smach the ball into the top left hand corner from outside the box.
If truth be told, the game was evenly contested for an hour or so and Norwich’s tenacity was rewarded with an Andrew Surman goal early in the second half. Any City nerves weren’t to last for too long, though. The introduction of Yaya Toure from the bench to replace Samir Nasri was key as it enabled the Blues to get a foothold in midfield and it further liberated the deadly Argentine forwards to finally put the Canaries to rest.
Tevez soon got his second of the day and it was Toure who he had to thank for the gaol. With the Ivorian and David Silva combining nicely on the edge of the box, Toure unleashed a fiece shot which Ruddy managed to palm away into the path of Tevez who calmly nodded over the despairing ‘keeper. Next up, Aguero sealed his brace with a sublime individual goal: running down the left channel he arrived in the box before switching the ball onto his right foot so that he could loop the ball around Ruddy into the top corner.
With City cruising at 4-1 and Norwich’s spirit crushed, Tevez bagged a hat-trick by making the most of a woeful back pass to round the ‘keeper before Adam Johnson added gloss to the victory with a goal in the 90th minute.
The win took City within two points of leaders Manchester United, albeit temporarily, with just four games of the season remaining. United did re-open a five point gap the following day when they comfortably beat Aston Villa but the manner of City’s victory at Norwich meant that there was cause for optimism given the two sides were due to meet each other before the end of the season.
City XI: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Nasri (Y Toure – 63′), Silva (Johnson – 75′), De Jong, Aguero, Tevez (Richards – 81′)
Sub not used: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Milner, Dzeko
Watch the highlights of the game here.
On this day, Carly Rae Jepsen was sitting at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart with Call Me Maybe.
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Written by Rob Toole