Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has chosen to blame fitness as the reason for his strikers firing blank for the second consecutive matches the Premier league. City failed to score for the second consecutive match after a 0-0 draw with Norwich City. This was preceded by a 1-0 defeat – their first home this campaign – against title rivals Chelsea. Many felt that this was a result that would soon be forgotten given City’s attacking nature. However, they were about to face one of the teams struggling against relegation – Norwich.
Yet, Chris Hughton organised his team in such a brilliant fashion that City were unable to breach the defence. In fact, according to the top football blog, City had only two shots on target for the full 90 minutes. Strikers Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo continued to struggle front of goal. Pellegrini said after the match that the duo were struggling primarily due to the lack of fitness and not because of form. City were also missing key players like Sergio Aguero, who is the club’s top scorer, and midfielder Fernandinho. Even the usually impressive Yaya Touré looked off colour, as City could only get a point.
This has given the title impetus back to Chelsea, who now top the table for the first time since August.
“Negredo and Dzeko are not 100 percent fit, so I think that is the reason we haven’t scored in these two games. It’s not a hangover from the Chelsea game. We lost then against a very good team and Norwich played very well against us as well,” said City boss Pellegrini. “Keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City is a big ask but we defended really well and I think the supporters could see that we were trying to win it at the end,” said opposition manager Chris Hughton after the match.