Jack Grealish was among the scorers as Manchester City eased past Norwich City 5-0 on Saturday for their first win of the Premier League season.
The reigning champions fell to a 1-0 loss at Tottenham in their opening game but had no trouble in seeing off their newly promoted opponents at the Etihad Stadium.
British record signing Grealish scored in an unconventional manner 22 minutes into his home debut after Tim Krul’s unfortunate own goal had given the hosts an early lead.
Aymeric Laporte added to the scoring in the second half and substitutes Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez piled the misery on Norwich, who slipped to a second successive defeat on their return to the top tier.
City had won their previous three home league games against Norwich by an aggregate score of 14-1 and were ahead inside seven minutes of this latest one-sided encounter.
Gabriel Jesus chested down Rodri’s diagonal pass and fired a low cross into the six-yard box, Grant Hanley diverting the ball against goalkeeper Krul and into the net.
Ferran Torres was denied a goal by VAR for Bernardo Silva’s trip on Milot Rashica in the build-up, but Grealish netted soon after as Jesus’ cross hit his thigh and beat Krul.
Having played a part in those opening two goals, Jesus went close to scoring one of his own early in the second half when dragging a shot just wide from range.
City’s third did arrive nine minutes later when Laporte stroked home after Norwich failed to deal with a corner and the ball bounced around in the box.
Sterling was next to register with a close-range finish after being teed up by the impressive Jesus, while Mahrez rounded out the scoring late on, brilliantly controlling Ruben Dias’ long pass and tucking in off the inside of the post.
What does it mean? Lift off for Guardiola’s side
City had lost their previous three games in all competitions without scoring, a run stretching back into last season, but were comfortable from the first whistle against Norwich.
Guardiola’s side had 67.3 per cent possession and found the net from five of their 16 attempts – compared to just one shot of any note for Norwich – despite never really having to move out of second gear.
While their campaign has lift off, it is now back-to-back defeats for Norwich and 12 losses in a row in the Premier League. Only Sunderland, with 20, have ever lost more on the spin in the competition.
Jack’s fluky finish
Grealish may not have known a lot about his goal, with Jesus’ cross hitting his leg and the ball going in before he could react, but they all count and the £100million man is off the mark.
With that rather fortunate strike, Grealish is the first English player to score on his home Premier League debut for his new club since Frank Lampard in September 2014.
Torres’ well-taken goal was rightly chalked off, albeit through no fault of his own, but the makeshift centre forward otherwise offered little as he managed just two touches in the opposition box in his hour on the field.
By comparison, Jesus was superb on the right as he played a part in three of his side’s goals, while Sterling and Mahrez took advantage of Norwich’s tired defence by scoring in cameo appearances off the bench.
Key Opta facts
– Laporte scored his ninth goal for Manchester City in all competitions, but first at the Etihad. Indeed, all of his strikes have come at different stadiums.
– For the first time in Manchester City’s 25 Premier League campaigns, their first goal of a season in the division was an own goal.
– In Premier League history, only Leicester in 2001-02 (-9) and Wigan in 2010-11 (-10) have ever had a worse goal difference from their opening two games than Norwich’s -8.
– Since Guardiola arrived ahead of the 2016-17 season, there have been 49 Premier League games won by a margin of 5+ goals; the Spaniard’s side are responsible for 23 of these (47 per cent).
– Norwich have started a season with two defeats in their opening two league games for the first time since 1997-98 in the second tier, and first in the top flight since 1987-88.
Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium next Saturday, while Norwich host Leicester City after a midweek EFL Cup second-round tie with Bournemouth.
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