Jonathan Howson

Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City: Seven different scorers for City dismiss Canaries

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The easiest way Manchester City could have taken the pressure off debutant goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon would have been to score a lot of goals. That’s exactly what the home side did, defeating Norwich City, 7-0, on Saturday.

The Romanian goalkeeper had little to do all game. Manager Manuel Pellegrini handed him his first Premier League start in place of Joe Hart, whose troubles this season have been well documented.

His teammates at the other end helped him by scoring early and often.

In the 16th minute, Canaries midfielder Bradley Johnson got the last touch on the opening goal. Gaël Clichy overlapped on the left flank and sent in a cross for David Silva. His initial shot was blocked, as was Sergio Agüero’s follow-up effort. However, that block ricocheted off Johnson and looped into the goal.

Just four minutes later, Silva would find the target. Samir Nasri found Agüero over the top on a counter-attack, and he laid the ball off for Silva’s late run into the penalty area. He made no mistake this time, smacking the ball past John Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

Nasri got another assist, helped by a defender, five minutes later. His corner kick found Matija Nastasić at the near post, and he headed into a defender, the deflection deceiving Ruddy on its way into the goal.

The fourth came from center forward Alvaro Negredo. Silva and Yaya Touré exchanged short passes on top of Norwich’s penalty area before slotting the ball through to Agüero. The Argentine was in an offside position when the ball was played, but the flag stayed down.

Shortly after, Pantilimon made the only tough save he needed to preserve his clean sheet. Gary Hooper took his chances from long distance, and the lanky Romanian needed nearly all of his 6-foot, 8-inch height to touch it around the post.

Yaya Touré added a fifth in the second half, curling a world-class free kick directly into the top corner from about 23 yards out on the hour mark. Agüero added a goal of his own after his two previous assists, slamming home a volley from around the penalty spot after a soft clearance by Sébastien Bassong in the 71st minute.

Substitute forward Edin Džeko capped it off in the 86th minute with a nice turn and strike inside the penalty area. The cheers from the City crowd felt almost ironic by that point, as its team won through seven different goalscorers. Pantilimon never looked uncomfortable in his Premier League debut, as his team outshot Norwich, 26-7.

Lineups

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Costel Pantilimon — Gaël Clichy, Matija Nastasić, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta — Yaya Touré, Fernandinho — David Silva (Jesus Navas, 73), Sergio Agüero, Samir Nasri (James Milner, 70) — Álvaro Negredo (Edin Džeko, 46)

Unused substitutes: Joe Hart — Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Aleksandar Kolarov

Norwich City (4-4-2): John Ruddy — Sébastien Bassong, Steven Whittaker (Johan Elmander, 46), Michael Turner, Russell Martin — Martin Olsson, Bradley Johnson, Leroy Fer, Anthony Pilkington — Jonathan Howson, Gary Hooper (Josh Murphy, 46)

Unused substitutes: Mark Bunn — Wes Hoolahan, Javier Garrido, Luciano Becchio, Ryan Bennett

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Norwich City (lineups and discuss)

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The biggest question before Manchester City hosts Norwich has been settled: Joe Hart will be on the bench, while Romanian Costel Pantilimon will get the start. That signals that manager Manuel Pellegrini’s patience may have finally run out for his up-and-down English goalkeeper.

(MORE: Joe Hart dropped for Manchester City vs. Norwich)

In the last two seasons between City and Norwich, 25 goals have been scored, so the new man is sure to see some action between the posts.

For Norwich, Nathan Redmond (thigh) and striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel (ankle) were in doubt before the match, and they have indeed been left off the match-day squad completely for the Canaries.

City may have lost two of its last four, but Norwich has only won once in its previous six matches. Neither side will want to drop points today, with the host side trying to remain within striking distance at the top of the table, and the visitors trying to scrap their way out of the relegation zone.

You can watch the game live on NBC Sports Live Extra, on your television and online, with coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET.

STARTING XIs

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Costel Pantilimon — Gaêl Clichy, Matija Nastasić, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta — Yaya Touré, Fernandinho — David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Samir Nasri — Alvaro Negredo

Bench: Joe Hart — Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Aleksandar Kolarov, Jesus Navas, James Milner, Edin Džeko

Norwich City (4-4-2): John Ruddy — Sébastien Bassong, Steven Whittaker, Michael Turner, Russell Martin — Martin Olsson, Bradley Johnson, Leroy Fer, Anthony Pilkington — Jonathan Howson, Gary Hooper

Bench: Mark Bunn — Wes Hoolahan, Johan Elmander, Javier Garrido, Luciano Becchio, Ryan Bennett, Josh Murphy

Lineups and Discussion: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City

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It’s the day of full debuts for Tottenham Hotspur, as he hands the reigns over to new signing Christian Eriksen at White Hart Lane in front of the home fans. Erik Lamela will have to wait for his, as he only makes the bench.

With the international break they will not have had all that much time to begin training with their new teammates, but it will have to do as a strong Norwich club comes in on four points through the first three matches..

Spurs have not beaten Norwich in their last three league matches, with both fixtures last year ending on 1-1.

Lineups:

Tottenham – Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Mousa Dembele, Paulinho; Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen; Roberto Soldado.
Bench – Erik Lamela, Louis Holtby, Jermain Defoe, Kyle Naughton, Sandro, Younes Kabul, Brad Friedel

Norwich – John Ruddy; Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Robert Snodgrass, Leroy Fer, Bradley Johnson, Nathan Redmond, Johan Elmander; Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Bench – Mark Bunn, Martin Olsson, Russell Martin, Jonathan Howson, Anthony Pilkington, Alexander Tettey, Gary Hooper.

You can watch live here on NBC Sports Live Extra starting at 10am ET.