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Bringing together all our pre and post matchday reviews. These ever popular reviews cover every match, home or away and give an insight into what the true Manchester City fans believe will happen.
Like all opening day fixtures the rule-book went out of the window yesterday with Chelsea humbled at Burnley, Crystal Palace succumbing to Huddersfield and Liverpool scoring three but their defensive frailties showing through as Watford managed to secure a well earned draw. Huddersfield sit atop the table but Tottenham and Man United might have something to say about that come the end of today. Spurs look like they should have enough to put paid to Newcastle but Man United's task could well be a lot harder. It will certainly be interesting to see joe hart in action in the premier league and how he fares over the coming season.
City lined up against Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion and the fixture had banana skin written all over it.
City lined up with a very unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation with Kompany / Stones and Otamendi strung across the back and on paper that looked like a really good set-up. Guardiola has tried this before but without the personnel to really make it work and you can see in his full-back signings he has this formation in mind for the season. It was excellent yesterday, restricting Brighton to a total of 6 shots, only 2 of which were on target all game. With 22% posession you could argue that Brighton parked the bus and that contributed to their lack of penetration into City's half but looking at the way they defended with a 5-3-2 formation this wasn't really the case. With 2 attackers ready to unleash at any given opportunity they could have been a dangerous team but our midfield quintet certainly put paid to that.
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Walker was given man of the match in most places (The BBC website has Aguero and he took his goal well but he didn't run the game) but for me it was the new look Silva who as usual ran everything that was good about City. Walker's assuredness on the ball was excellent, Whether it was £50million excellent only time will tell but he is certainly a great player. Danilo on the other hand on the other wing looked a little less assured and seemed to feel the need to push it as if he had a bit of a point to prove. Not really needed and a little more calmness and compoure will be required when we face tougher opposition in the weeks to come.
Guardiola afer the match commented on how happy he was with the new players and I am sure he is keen to throw Mendy into that mix sooner rather than later. He does seem to feel from his comments that the stable platform of playing a 3-5-2 formation will benefit the team as a whole this season but we need to work harder on turning the posession it gives into clear cut chances. 78% posession and only 4 shots on target does seem rather wasteful, especially if you factor n that we had 10 corners.
One word of caution and a possible area for concern is Edison. We will face much sterner challenges than this during the season and we need a goalkeeper who can hold crosses. It is all well and good having somebody who can kick a ball and you can say job done with his clean sheet but for the fans to really get behind Ederson he will need to cut out the sloppy mistakes and quickly. In the Premier league you often get punished for a lapse in concentration and catching the ball at crosses needs to be bread and butter, especially if he is to be the springboard for fast counter-attacks by Jesus, De Bruyne & Aguero
Guardiola has hinted that at a total spend of over £200 million the change from the oldest team in the premier league to one of the youngest will allow him to curb these big spending windows and between now and January we all hope to see the squad continuity grow and develop and yesterday's 2-0 win does bode well that Banana Skins and breaking teams down can be done where last season we struggled.
What of Brghton & Hove albion. The ground which holds 30,750 looks really nice and a comfortable place to play football and Chris Hughton looks like he has got them playing football which matches the grandiose design. 5-3-2 when defending or 4-4-2 when attacking appears to be the style and the team look well drilled and well versed in that set-up. They look like a team who will be hard to break down and yesterday's defensive strengths shone through for most of the match, albeit a couple of individual errors crept in which is understandable when playing against a team who won't give you the ball back to play with. Although favourites to go down if there attacking players can chip in with a run of goals they could well be the surprise package inb their initial outing in the premier league.
I typed this before KO: this had to end in a City home win - they have not beaten anyone in the league away so far.
Good to see Nacho start - no, check that. 'Great' to see Nacho start.
Could not for the life of me figure out what the formation was, although it sort of looked like the dreaded 4-4-2. Mind you, Norwich set up essentially the same, which seemed like a ridiculously silly thing to do away to the league leaders.
* To begin with, as expected, City had the majority of the ball and most of that was in the Norwich half - what was strage from a Canaries' point of view was how much space our fullbacks were being given. Again, a silly thing to do.
* City had to be patient though, such was Norwich's deep defending. We'd get 2/3's of the way up the pitch and hit a brick wall.
Every now and then KdB, Bony, or Nacho would make a run inside, but they were few and far between and the ball had to be perfect for them to do anything with it.
* Connection problems (again) saw me miss a few minutes, but then when it came back Bony was lashing at the ball right in front of goal and missed the entire thing - when it's not going your way, it really isn't going your way.
* Norwich's first major chance came in the 27th when Jarvis ran through a giant of a hole in our backline, and knowing he had one chance and one chance only, he blasted the ball, but hart made a comfortable save.
* Lovely tribute in the 35th, with all on their feet.
RIP Chris Shaw.
* I said earlier that our fullbacks were being left with acres of space, yet time and time again, we played it through the middle (more often than not). Hopefully Pellers would sort this out.
* The first attack from City within seconds of the restart was another over-the-top into the box. Oh dear.
* I had since changed channels and gone with a lovely Spansh HD channel - it was a wonderful quality.
* What also changed was Norwich's gameplan - no longer were they playing in the last third, they were actually attacking, and not doing a too bad of a job either.
Was that a penalty? I honestly do not know. The ball was taken but so was Bony - I've seen them given.
* Sterling came on for Nacho, and suddenly we had a tad more step about ourselves - this is not a sleight on the youngster, I just feel the way we were set up was not to his liking.
All that said though, this was not a vintage Ciy performance - it was a bit poo, in all honesty.
* Mucho gracias, Senor Otamendi.
Wonderful, wonderful header - from a friggin' corner!
In the case of Norwich, he was given too much time and space to run in and leap into the oncoming ball - Ruddy had no chance to stop it.
* A total brain fart from Hart. To be fair, all players make mistakes but when they do they don't result in a goal, the same cannot be said for goalkeepers, unfortunately.
An attacker makes a mistake? And it means no goal, the opposite is true for the one between the sticks.
Now can you imagine the furore if Willy had played and done that?
* I cried out "penalty!" but the ref, brilliantly, played on to allow Sterling to shoot at he goal only for it to be handballed/saved.
I really do not know who was sent off for what (Spanish commenatry will do that) - but whether it was for the foul or tha handball it was the right decision.
I asked on Twitter, and evidently it was the handball from the Sterling shot.
* Excellent save from Hart with mere seconds to go - more than made up for dropping the ball earlier.
* Then another penalty, this time for a foul on Sterling. Sadly, Kolarov missed. It happens, much like the Hart drop. Get over it.
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All time head-to-head in the league
Manchester City 28
Norwich City 8
Manchester City goals 107
Norwich City goals 57
Last corresponding fixture
2nd November 2013
Ref: Phil Dowd
Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City
Johnson (OG) 16'
Martin (OG) 25'
P Zabaleta - MCL Knee Ligament Injury - no return date
R Sterling - Hamstring Injury - no return date
S Nasri - Hamstring Injury - 21st Nov 15
D Silva - Ankle/Foot Injury - DOUBT
S Aguero - Hamstring Injury - DOUBT
F Delph - Hamstring Injury - 8th Nov 15
G Clichy - Ankle/Foot Injury - DOUBT
D Mbokani - Illness - DOUBT
That 7-0 was MCFC's biggest ever win against Norwich City, stretching back to 1938
Norwich City have not won in any competition since the 23rd September (3-0 vs West Brom at home)
Norwich have let in a staggering 21 goals this season; only Bournemouth and Newcastle have conceded more (22)
They have only beaten one side on the road in all competitions this season: Rotherham United in the Cup. However they have drawn against Liverpool and West Ham United
Matchday chat will be switched on 1 hour before KO.
Thay say there are no easy matches in the PL, but this one might be the exception that proves the rule - this is not being big-headed, more a case of facing reality. Norwich are struggling, have not won away in the league, and City are firing goals in like they are going out of fashion.
Elsewhere, I reckon West Ham will walk away with the 3pts vs Watford, Arsenal should beat Swansea (but you never know), and Man Utd might struggle away at Crystal Palace - Pardew knew exactly what he was doing when he named his XI against us on Wednesday evening.
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