Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City showed up on Saturday against an overmatched Norwich City on Saturday. The match quickly turned into a much-needed romp for City, and the fans who filled the Etihad for the time since before COVID enjoyed every minute.
City were dominant in possession form the kickoff and applied pressure to Norwich’s defensive shape all afternoon. The Blues were on the ball 67% of the time and much of the game was played in the Canaries’ defensive third.
MCFC opened the scoring in the 7th minute as Gabriel Jesus’ cross from the right deflected off Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul for on own goal. Jesus asserted himself down the right wing throughout the first half and was a willing setup man throughout the match.
Jesus would set up Jack Grealish for his first in a City shirt in the 22nd. Kyle Walker found Gabby with a gorgeous through ball as he ran to the penalty area. His cross in bounced through the box where Grealish was able to direct the ball home. Guardiola’s men headed to the dressing room up 2-0 at the half.
The second half saw Norwich a little more assertive early, but City were not done finding the net. In the 64th minute, Ilkay Gundogan sent a corner toward the goal that deflected off three players before connecting with the right foot of Aymeric LaPorte for his first tally of the year.
Walker and Jesus linked up on the right wing once more in the 71st. This time, Raheem Sterling netted the cross after subbing in for starter Ferran Torres at center forward. It was a brilliant effort on the day for Jesus, and with three assists he was easily the Man of the Match for me.
Man City put the finishing touch on the day with another goal in the 84th minute. Substitute Riyadh Mahrez broke Norwich City’s offside trap as Ruben Dias lobbed a pass behind the Canaries back line. The flag stayed down and Mahrez gave it one touch and deposited the ball into the left corner of goal past a helpless Krul.
All-in-all City were thought to be an easy winner coming in, and they did nothing to disappoint. It was a much better effort than the game against Spurs to be sure, and perhaps improved fitness of the side and a small adjustment in tactics were all that was needed. It is just the first win in a long race to the title, but perhaps City have found some footing.
Next up, City host Arsenal on 28 August.