14th April 2012. Manchester City’s title surge looked to be over after defeat at Arsenal left the blues eight points behind leaders United. Following that defeat, the blues beat West Brom while United lost surprisingly at Wigan, which cut the gap to five points with five games remaining, but the feeling was the title was gone by the time City arrived at Carrow Road.
Wayward striker Carlos Tevez, who had been in dispute with the blues for most of the season, returned to the starting line-up after scoring as a substitute in the win over West Brom and he would prove to be the difference as City’s title charge reignited.
The match was end to end at first, with both sides having opportunities to score. Samir Nasri and Tevez were both denied by home keeper John Ruddy, while at the other end, Andy Pilkington curled a shot just wide of Joe Hart’s goal and Joleon Lescott came to City’s rescue by clearing Grant Holt’s header off the line.
A goal was coming and it duly arrived from the blues. David Silva intercepted a mis-placed pass and fed Aguero, who in turn released his international team mate who thumped a swerving shot from 25 yards past Ruddy.
The floodgates were beginning to open and just nine minutes later it was 2-0. The two Argentine’s linked up again, but this time, Tevez fed Aguero, whose half volley from 20 yards flew past the keeper.
The blues were looking unstoppable, but a 2-0 half time lead was cut when Andrew Surman pulled a goal back six minutes into the second half.
The goal briefly revived Norwich, but City weathered the storm and threatened to increase the lead further, and a third goal duly arrived with 17 minutes remaining. Yaya Toure’s drive was blocked by Ruddy, but Tevez wriggled away from his marker to head the rebound home.
Two minutes later the game was made safe and it was Tevez and Aguero combining again, with the latter curling another 20 yard strike beyond Ruddy. Within five minutes of that strike, Tevez completed his hat-trick, beating the offside trap and rounding Ruddy before tapping into an empty net for City’s fifth. Tevez celebrated with a mocking golf swing, which was a reference to a comment made by manager Roberto Mancini, when asked where Tevez was during his period away from the club to which Mancini replied ‘I don’t know, maybe playing golf somewhere.’
City were keeping the pressure on United and, with goal difference being a real possibility in deciding the title race, the blues went for and got a sixth. Substitute Adam Johnson, who had hit the bar shortly after coming on, converted Gael Clichy’s cross and the rout was complete.
It was a comfortable margin in the end and, as it turned out, the goal difference was more essential than anyone realised at the time.
Final Score: Norwich 1-6 Man City