The game: Norwich 3-4 City
Date: December 29, 2012
The story: Defending Premier League champions City were finding the defence of their crown difficult as the year ended at Carrow Road.
The Canaries, backed by a noisy and packed home crowd, were looking to make it a miserable festive period for Roberto Mancini’s side who had lost 1-0 to Sunderland on Boxing Day and fallen further behind leaders Manchester United as a result.
The gap at the top could become 10 points going into 2013 if the hosts caused a surprise, but Edin Dzeko had other ideas.
The Bosnian striker got City off to a superb starting scoring after just two minutes when Sergio Aguero found David Silva and his first-time ball was drilled home by Dzeko with only two minutes played.
And the home side were still reeling from that goal when Dzeko doubled City’s lead on four minutes as Aguero raced towards goal, keeper Mark Bunn committed himself leaving the Argentine with the simple task of rolling to Dzeko who stroked the ball into the unguarded net.
It felt like the points were as good as ours, but the Canaries literally hadn’t had any opportunity to get going and with 86 minutes to play, Chris Hughton’s side clung onto the hope that there was still plenty of time to get back into the match.
Anthony Pilkington gave the home crowd hope on 15 minutes with a deflected free-kick that gave Joe Hart no chance.
And the Canaries chances of a comeback increased when Samir Nasri was shown a straight red card on half-time after clashing with Sebastian Bassong – a dismissal that infuriated the Blues who felt Bassong should have been dismissed for the challenge that sparked the confrontation that followed.
City used that anger to restore a two-goal advantage five minutes after the restart, when Aguero’s cleverly finished a fine Yaya Toure through ball.
On 63 minutes, back came Norwich again as Russell Martin scored from a corner to again lift the noise levels inside Carrow Road – with almost a half-hour left, this was going to be a huge test for the 10-man City.
Within four minutes of this thrilling contest, however, City were 4-2 up when Dzeko’s shot struck the post and then went into the net off keeper Bunn.
Yet Norwich still wouldn’t throw the towel in, with Martin deflecting a Bradley Johnson shot past Hart to make it 4-3 in City’s favour – and a nervy final 15 minutes, with tiring legs ensued.
But City held firm and saw the time out to move within seven points of United at the top, ending an unforgettable 2012 on yet another high.