Slim margins indeed… yet again.
A clinical close range finish by Mr Grumpy himself just past the hour was enough to wrench a point away from a hard working, fully committed, yet ultimately not quite deserving Canaries’ side.
Costa’s lack of celebration for the goal and at the final whistle may be hinting at a grain of truth at one or two rumours going round that a January exit is on the cards for him? Who cares quite frankly.
Then again, maybe he was just being typically grouchy and was irked that the ref hadn’t bought one or two of his characteristic penalty box theatricals.
Well done to referee Craig Pawson for seeing his tumbles for what they were.
For Norwich, it wasn’t an unlucky defeat in the way that the Man City one had been. Speaking personally, I wasn’t left with a nagging 24-hour pain in the gut as all last ditch, self-inflicted defeats tend to induce.
It certainly wasn’t a tactical calamity as suffered at Newcastle, which tends to leave a sense of embarrassment for a couple of days.
No, this was one of those narrow defeats you suffer to a clearly much better team/group of individuals who at their pomp would have converted a few more of the multitude of clear cut chances that were fashioned.
There may well be others to come.
Going forward, City created one or two decent-ish chances that fell to Nathan Redmond and Seb Bassong, but nothing really that screamed sitter. They were slim pickings.
A late yellow and green flurry ensued as the cavalry were summoned from the bench and made for a few twitchy moments for the ‘long-suffering’ home fans.
In truth, a share of the points would have been in the daylight robbery category.
There weren’t any real stand-out performances from our lads. All very 6 or 7 out of 10. No one had a stinker but no one had a blinder. Good, but not quite good enough.
Defensively, it was a solid shift put in by all but for that one moment where the opposition’s free kick was allowed to find its cantankerous target with too much ease.
John Ruddy pulled off some fine saves and seems to be repaying the faith shown him by his manager. For now, some of his more vocal critics have retreated to the shadows waiting for the next chance to pounce on any slip up.
The omission of club captain and early season fans’ scapegoat Russell Martin from the squad surprised many and no doubt pleased a few. His one-match ban was served but, for a reason unknown at the time of writing, he hadn’t made the trip to Abramovich-land.
With Steven Whittaker on the bench once more, the time had come to test the speculative theory that these two were the main culprits for all of the wrongdoings in previous defeats.
Certainly in the Swansea win and Chelsea defeat, the new back four of Andre Wisdom, Ryan Bennett, Martin Olsson and Bassong have looked the part.
Of course, they – and the rest of the team – have benefited to some extent from very different, more tailored and tinkered approaches taken by the boss in these games compared with the earlier, more gung-ho games.
Less entertainment for us in the seats or at home with this new-found caution but, with winter beginning to bite hard, Neil has quickly gripped the realities of which approach is more likely to keep his side in the Premier League.
Other than Chelsea, happily none of the other teams in our immediate vicinity of the table made much progress either yesterday. Not too much damage done in terms of the bigger picture.
As for the reigning Premier League champions, there’s still a sense that something rotten lies at the heart of their desperate defence of the title.
Can Jose Mourinho rekindle the spark or has he lost his magic on the pitch as well as in front of the cameras? I’m not bothered.
On to round 14 in seven days time, and for Norwich an injury-ravaged Arsenal make the trip to Norfolk also looking to bounce back from defeat.
New game, probably a new formation from Alex, and new opportunities.