Russell Martin’s influence on this Norwich City squad can be measured in many ways. Goals are not the usual currency.

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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.

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