Carlos Tevez fired a hat-trick
and fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester
City thrashed Norwich City 6-1 to move within two points of
Premier League leaders Manchester United on Saturday.
Former skipper Tevez, who in midweek was handed his first
start since September after ending a dispute with manager
Roberto Mancini, produced a scintillating display to fuel his
side's title hopes and put pressure on United.
Mancini's men have 77 points with four matches remaining,
including a potentially title-deciding home game with United who
have 79 from one game fewer.
Thanks to their commanding win at Norwich, Manchester City's
goal difference is now eight better than United's, the team they
walloped 6-1 at Old Trafford during a barnstorming start to the
Impressive as Manchester City were, a rather subdued Mancini
refused to talk up his club's hopes of winning their first
top-flight title since 1968.
"It was a fantastic performance," the Italian told Sky
Sports. "We need to finish well in the championship and we are
starting to play very well.
"But when you fight against a fantastic team like United
it's impossible. [The title race] is finished.
"I think it is too late. I am happy we are playing like we
did in the first 28 games."
At the other end of the table Blackburn Rovers' hopes of
avoiding relegation suffered a big blow after a 3-0 defeat at
Bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers look almost certain to
slip out of the top flight after a 0-0 draw at Sunderland left
them eight points from safety.
Queens Park Rangers, two points above the drop zone, went
down 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
Blackburn manager Steve Kean said all was not lost, despite
his second from bottom team falling three points behind QPR and
Wigan Athletic who meet third-placed Arsenal on Monday.
"It is obvious what we have to do. We have to win our next
game. We'll have to win two games and then get a draw from
somewhere. It's as simple as that," Kean told the BBC.
Tevez, who has missed most of the season after refusing to
warm up in a Champions League match at Bayern Munich and then
going back to Argentina without the club's consent, could yet
propel Manchester City to the title.
After a few substitute appearances and an hour from the
start against West Bromwich in midweek, he looked back to his
best against a Norwich side who played their part in a lively
The mercurial striker opened the scoring after 18 minutes
with a wickedly dipping shot that beat flapping goalkeeper John
Ruddy and his clever backheel nine minutes later allowed Aguero
to smash home Manchester City's second.
Norwich threatened a revival when Andrew Surman shot through
a crowd of players after 51 minutes but the visitors weathered a
few anxious moments and then romped to victory.
Tevez nodded the third after 73 minutes when Yaya Toure's
shot bounced back off Ruddy, Aguero curled in his second two
minutes later and Tevez completed his hat-trick by almost
walking the ball into the net after a defensive mistake.
Aguero almost matched his strike-partner's goal tally late
on when he thumped a shot against the woodwork before Adam
Johnson completed the rout in stoppage time.
"Enough has been said, all we had to do was go out and
play," Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany told Sky Sports.
"We realised that for a couple of months we did not perform
at our best and today with Carlos and Sergio up front it was not
just about the goals, we were fired by their performance and
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