Grealish off the mark as Man City romp sees Guardiola avoid unwelcome record

Date published: Saturday 21st August 2021 4:55 - Neil Foster

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Jack Grealish scored his first Manchester City goal as they eased to a 5-0 victory over Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium.

The £100m man scored his side’s second after an own goal had given the home side the lead. Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez bagged after the break in a comfortable triumph.

City had lost their last three matches in all competitions without scoring a goal. Pep Guardiola had never been beaten in four consecutive games, nor seen his sides go four games in a row without scoring.

Thankfully for the City fans, the Spaniard did not have to. City give Gabriel Jesus a first start of the season while England ace Sterling was back on the bench.

Bernardo Silva took his place despite links with a move away from the club. Laporte replaced Nathan Ake in defence, with Kyle Walker and Rodri also in the starting line-up.

Kevin De Bruyne missed out with an ankle injury while Norwich kept faith with the side that lost to Liverpool. Blue and white smoke plus fireworks greeted the players as they entered the arena.

And there were soon pyrotechnics on the pitch as the hosts were ahead in just the sixth minute. Rodri’s slide rule pass found Jesus on the right who fired the ball low and hard across the six-yard box.

With Ferran Torres lurking, Grant Hanley looked to clear the ball but only succeeded in finding his own net via goalkeeper Tim Krul. Things appeared to get worse for the Canaries as Torres tucked the ball away on 14 minutes.

However VAR agreed with the Norwich players that Milos Rachica had been tripped in the build-up – it looked marginal. But it was not long before the Citizens doubled their lead.

Grealish off and running

And it was the moment the home faithful had been waiting for as Grealish got off the mark. Jesus crossed from the right for Torres but the ball ran to Grealish whose thigh helped the ball over the line.

It was not the former Aston Villa man’s finest, but a significant goal for his new club. City continued to dominate, with Walker allowed the freedom of the pitch to cross at will.

It was tough for the visitors to get out of their own half but they managed to get to half-time without conceding again.

Manager Daniel Farke made two Norwich changes for the second period, with Kenny McLean and Bali Mumba replacing Dimitris Giannoulis and Lukas Rupp.

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And it certainly made a diference as they attacked with much more confidence early in the second period. But the match soon reverted to type, with City bossing proceedings.

Rodri and Jesus both tried their luck from distance but failed to trouble Krul. Sterling came off the bench on the hour mark and was handed the captain’s armband.

And he was on the pitch for no more than three minutes before Billy Gilmour’s sliding tackle made him wince.

A third goal did not seem far away and it duly came on 64 minutes via Laporte. Ilkay Gundogan’s corner was headed on by Ruben Dias before being bundled over the line by the Spaniard.

Sterling then got in on the act, bagging his first of the season on 70 minutes. Walker’s perfect pass found Jesus whose cross left Sterling with a simple finish to make it 4-0.

Grealish was replaced by Mahrez on 75 minutes and the Algerian was soon on the score sheet. Dias’ long pass over the top found the Africa who controlled well before slotting past Krul.

It was a welcome return to winning ways for the champions after last week’s loss to Tottenham.

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