Manchester City title hopes are dented after dour draw with Norwich
Struggling Carrow Road hosts frustrate Manuel Pellegrini’s men who did not help their cause by managing three shots on target from 15 attempts
Title-chasing Manchester City and strugglers Norwich drew 0-0 yesterday in a lacklustre English Premier League match.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side was unable to break down a stubborn Norwich defence, creating few clear chances in what it would have to be considered a must-win game if they are to challenge for the title.
The result leaves City nine points behind league leaders Leicester City with nine games remaining.
Just two points ahead of West Ham, who are in fifth place, the team are now in serious danger of missing out on Champions league football next season.
Hosts Norwich remain in the relegation zone on goal difference in 18th place, but manager Alex Neil had to be pleased with his side’s defensive display.
City on the other hand had to be disappointed they could not create more goal-scoring opportunities in a game that, for the most part, they dominated.
The first half was riddled with half-chances, largely from City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero, who was denied by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy on several occasions.
In a rare chance for Norwich, on-loan striker Patrick Bamford struck the crossbar with a fine effort from 25 yards out.
The second half continued much as the first, with City dominating possession yet failing to fashion any clear chances.
“Sometimes it’s not good enough. We needed more invention, more brilliance and that wasn’t available,” said City goalkeeper Joe Hart. “It chops and changes at the top and we have to stay consistent to our beliefs. We believe we can win the league.”
City manager Pellegrini had to be frustrated with the way his team seemed unable to find a way to score, only managing three shots on target from 15 attempts.
“We are disappointed. We tried to be aggressive with and without the ball. We had a good attitude, but we could not create space,” said Pellegrini.
“Of course, we should create more in the last third. We were static up front. Every time that you drop points it is harder, but you must continue thinking in a positive way. We must always try to win the title while we mathematically can.”
With Norwich remaining in real danger of relegation, Neil has to take encouragement from his team’s defensive showing, hoping that they can build on this result for their remaining games.
In other games, Southampton defeated Stoke City 2-1 thanks to a first-half brace from Graziano Pelle, while Bournemouth overcame Swansea 3-2 with Steve Cook grabbing the winner.