Manchester City 5-1 Norwich

Sergio Aguero
Aguero's 13th goal of the season set City on their way to an easy victory

Leaders Manchester City maintained their 100% home league record with an impressive victory over Norwich City.

Sergio Aguero stabbed his 13th goal of the season through a crowd of legs to put the league leaders in front.

Samir Nasri's 35-yard free-kick evaded everyone to double the lead before Yaya Toure curled in a third.

Steve Morison headed in for Norwich from six yards but Mario Balotelli scored with his shoulder and Adam Johnson's precise finish made it five.

Prior to kick-off, Norwich manager Paul Lambert suggested his team would not fear playing the league leaders but within minutes of the start it became apparent the visitors would not be playing an expansive game.

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Despite their conservative approach Morison created a couple of early opportunities for himself, the first coming when he robbed Kolo Toure down the left before firing a speculative 40-yard volley a couple of feet wide as home keeper Joe Hart scrambled to cover the shot.

Morison then outmuscled Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure but a heavy touch as he raced towards goal gave Hart the chance to close him down and snuff out the danger, and that was as good as it got for Norwich.

That it took the home side 32 minutes to open the scoring was the biggest surprise of the first half.

Aguero fired a low shot straight at keeper John Ruddy and volleyed over from eight yards but City's build-up play remained patient as they sought to create space in and around a congested penalty area.

The Argentine striker, who was superb throughout the match, eventually broke the deadlock with a wonderful piece of balance and skill.

Surrounded by several Norwich defenders in the box, after collecting a pass from Micah Richards, he twisted, turned and pirouetted before toe-poking the ball through a forest of Norwich legs into the bottom corner.

It is hard to call a man who has scored 13 goals this season wasteful, but Aguero could have scored a couple more.

His side-footed effort from 12 yards before half-time cleared the crossbar by some distance and after the break he was denied by a sharp stop from Ruddy who had moments earlier kept out David Silva's fiercely hit strike.

By that time though the home side had opened up a 2-0 lead, although the manner of their second was slightly fortuitous.

There seemed to be no danger as Nasri's gently curling free-kick drifted into the box and seemingly into the arms of Ruddy, but the ball bounced before it reached the keeper and skidded off his left palm into the net.

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Yaya Toure ensured City scored at least three at home for the sixth time this season with a low curling shot from just inside the box.

But their hopes of keeping a clean sheet for the first time in seven games were ruined by Morison who climbed above Gael Clichy at the back post to head in Marc Tierney's cross.

Balotelli, on as a substitute for Aguero, nonchalantly knocked in the fourth on the goal-line with his shoulder after his initial effort had been saved.

And Johnson rounded off City's seventh successive home win in the Premier League this season with a neat side-footed finish from 15 yards after Kompany's searching pass had found him alone in the penalty box.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:

"It was not easy because it was only 1-0 in the first half and if you don't score the game can change.

"Norwich defended with all their players behind the ball.

"[Aguero] scored a fantastic goal because it was not easy to score and the goal Mario scored today [with his shoulder] was fantastic because it was the only way he could score.

"It is not important now [to be top of the table], it is important to be there at the end of the season."

Norwich manager Paul Lambert:

"Manchester City deserved to win.

"Whether by five is a bit harsh [but] we tried to keep going and at 3-1 the goal gave us a bit of confidence but we were beaten by a better side.

"The second goal was poor from our point of view because the ball had travelled a long way.

"But you dust youselves down and go again."

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