The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Goal-shy Manchester City wastes chance to move top of league after being held by Norwich 0-0
NORWICH, England - Manchester City's sudden goal drought continued Saturday with the visitors squandering a chance to move top of the Premier League after a frustrating 0-0 draw at Norwich.
Manuel Pellegrini's team had scored 68 goals from 23 league matches before losing 1-0 to Chelsea on Monday and again struggling at Carrow Road against lowly Norwich.
Man City is third with 54 points from 25 games, two points behind league leaders Chelsea and a point behind Arsenal.
Pellegrini had made three changes from the side which lost to Chelsea as it looked to take full advantage of Arsenal's 5-1 defeat at Liverpool earlier Saturday.
However, it was the relegation-threatened Canaries — hammered 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in November — who raised their game and soaked up plenty of pressure to earn themselves what could be a crucial point in their fight to stay up.
City had hit the crossbar in the first half through a header from Alvaro Negredo, but otherwise Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was not really troubled — and the home side almost snatched victory in stoppage time when Nathan Redmond's cross flew through the six-yard box just ahead of Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
The visitors created an early opening when a cross from left-back Gael Clichy was hacked away by Norwich defender Joseph Yobo, making his debut on loan from Fenerbahce, with David Silva lurking in the penalty area.
Norwich, though, showed plenty of attacking intent, with a goalbound 20-yard (meter) drive from defender Martin Olsson cannoning off Pablo Zabaleta and behind for a corner.
With 16 minutes gone, Redmond was played into the City penalty area on the overlap down the right, but the England under-21 winger could only blast his angled drive high.
Norwich had a goal correctly ruled out for offside when Gary Hooper swept the loose ball home inside the six-yard box after Joe Hart had saved a bullet header from Leroy Fer at point-blank range after a corner.
There was a brief stoppage when City midfielder Yaya Toure needed treatement after taking a knock to the face, but play soon started again.
On 36 minutes, City struck the woodwork when a near-post corner was flicked on and Negredo's header cannoned back off the crossbar.
The visitors pressed again as the interval approached, with Ruddy getting down well to save a low, 20-yard strike from Stevan Jovetic.
City maintained its dominance following the restart and only a brilliant diving tackle by Olsson prevented Jesus Navas from slotting home at the far post on 55 minutes.
In a rare Norwich attack, a clever exchange between Hooper and Russell Martin saw the full-back played into space at the edge of the City penalty area, but his half-volley flew wide.
On 61 minutes, City replaced Jovetic with Edin Dzeko.
Hooper needed treatment for a foot problem after kicking Silva's boot as he tried to clear, and had to come off, as Norwich's club-record signing Van Wolfswinkel was sent on in the 67th minute.
Milner was booked for tripping Olsson, but it only interupted the seige as Dzeko fired into the side netting following another flowing counter-attack.
Aleksandar Kolarov came on for Negredo with 14 minutes left.
Navas' low cross went through the six-yard box and behind as City was again frustrated by a lack of cutting edge.
Norwich, though, almost snatched it at the death as first Redmond's cross was just too far ahead of Van Wolfswinkel and Anthony Pilkington fired just over after turning Zabelata.
Norwich is 15th with 25 points from 25 games.
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