Monday, December 31, 2012
Russell Martin’s influence on this Norwich City squad can be measured in many ways. Goals are not the usual currency.
Captain for the day in the injury absence of Grant Holt, Martin also elected to borrow his good friend’s talismanic tag with a shift against the champions that typfied Norwich’s desire to push Manchester City all the way.
Martin’s two-goal salvo restored belief at a time when the Blues looked to have quelled the potential home fightback perhaps the majority inside Carrow Road dared to yearn for when Samir Nasri’s first-half red card left Mancini’s men at a numerical disadvantage. Sergio Aguero underlined his class when he profited from Sebastien Bassong’s hesitancy to restore the visitors’ two-goal cushion early in the second period.
After recovering from the shock of Edin Dzeko’s rapid early brace, Aguero’s cool finish would have been a fatal blow to many opponents. But Martin led the fightback – displaying the same predatory instincts as the Argentinian. First he peeled into space to glance home Bassong’s far post header and after Dzeko had struck a fourth, later credited as an own goal to Mark Bunn, Martin reprised his penalty box heroics with a stabbed finish past Joe Hart.
Sadly, there was to be no fairytale ending this time for Martin or the Canaries.