The Tuckster on the phenomenal win at The Etihad Stadium…
‘We can’t go to Man City and need a result on the last day of the season.’
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard people say that to me over the last few months, I’d be a very rich man. But I agreed, I’m sure we all did.
As it turned out, City had secured safety last weekend in the thrashing of West Brom so this game really was a ‘free hit.’
After the sacking of Roberto Mancini in mid week, I did wonder if this would be a good time to play them – if there ever is a good time to play Man Citeh.
Chris Hughton was allowed the luxury of being able to rest Seb Bassong, but later admitted he could’ve played if we really needed a result. He was also still without Michael Turner which allowed Steven Whittaker a place in the back four.
Other than that, it was the same team that mullered WBA.
Right from the off, Norwich were up for it and Citeh were slow out of the blocks. Yaya Toure struggled to get going as the real City dominated possession – at one point in the first 20 mins the BBC had the stats as 20%-80% possession in OUR favour, I kid you not!
City had several chances to open the scoring before finally managing it on 26 minutes. A determined Hoolahan kept fighting on the edge of the box as he battled with Toure and Lescott but he got a lucky bounce and calmly slipped the ball to Pilkington just inside the area. His cool finish to the right of Hart was hardly undeserved.
The lead only lasted three minutes though before a nice move and slack defending allowed Rodwell to score with a well taken shot.
1-1 at half time, blimey, this was nowhere near the thrashing most of us feared.
Russell Martin was inches away from scoring when he threw a leg at Snodgrass’ left foot cross but as Citeh toiled, City were going for it.
City kept right on where they’d left off and the Captain, Grant Holt scored just to make sure everyone knows he is the number nine at Norwich and confirm his place as top scorer – Again!
A lovely ball from the back found Snodgrass on the right in the area and completely unmarked. He sent a terrific right foot cross in, across goal which Holt side footed in from close range after the ball evaded everyone.
This time, the lead lasted five minutes before Yaya got his act together and sent Rodwell into a sprint with Whittaker on the left.
Rodwell out paced Whitts and then scored from a tight angle – He’s been called up for the England squad today. If he is fit, he is a heck of a player.
But not to be denied, Johnny Howson decided that fresh from his first goal of the season last week that he would have another here.
He picked up the ball in the centre circle in his own half. He strode forwards and with a few jinks and turns he beat, Toure, Lescott, Rodwell, Richards and Zabaleta before slipping the ball under the advancing Hart – a brilliant goal. Finally the real Jonny H has stood up.
Late on, Becchio and Alex Tettey came on and the midfield man could’ve done something similar but sent his shot just wide with only Hart to beat. Had he passed to Becchio it would’ve been 2-4.
What a terrific result – fully deserved I might add and the best part is that we finished ELEVENTH! Yes, you read that right, one place higher than under the supposed ‘Special One’.
This performance was the difference between finishing 15th or 16th and Jonny H’s goal was worth about £4m due to the final push up the table.
A wonderful way to end what has been a strange season. At times it’s been awful (Liverpool, Fulham), and at times it’s been dull as ditch water (Newcastle, Fulham, Southampton at home) as well as being superb (Man Utd, Arsenal, West Brom at home and Swansea, Man City away).
So, a mixed bag but what a way to finish it off.
Thanks lads and On The Ball City!