Manchester City title hopes dented with 0-0 draw vs. Norwich
NORWICH, England (AP) — Title-chasing Manchester City and league-struggler Norwich drew 0-0 Saturday in a lackluster English Premier League match.
Manuel Pellegrini's side was unable to break down a stubborn Norwich defense, creating few clear chances in what it would have to be considered a must-win game if they are to challenge for the title.
The result leaves Man City nine points behind league-leaders Leicester City with nine games remaining. Just 2 points ahead of West Ham, which is in 5th place, the team now is in serious danger of missing out on Champions league football next season.
Host Norwich remains in the relegation zone on goal difference in 18th place but manager Alex Neil had to be pleased with his side's defensive display.
Man City on the other hand had to be disappointed it was unable to create more goal-scoring opportunities in a game that, for the most part, it dominated.
The first half was riddled with half-chances, largely from Man City's top scorer Sergio Aguero, who was denied by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy on several occasions. In a rare chance for Norwich, on-loan striker Patrick Bamford struck the crossbar with a fine effort from 25 yards out.
The second half continued much as the first, with Man City dominating possessions yet failing to fashion any clear chances.
"Sometimes it's not good enough. We needed more invention, more brilliance and that wasn't available," said Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart. "It chops and changes at the top and we have to stay consistent to our beliefs. We believe we can win the league."
Man City's Pellegrini had to be frustrated with the way his team seemed unable to find a way to score, only managing three shots on target from 15 attempts.
With Norwich remaining in real danger of relegation, Neil has to take encouragement from his team's defensive showing, hoping that it can build on this result for its remaining games.