FT: Stoke 1-4 Manchester City

Date published: Thursday 1st January 1970 12:00

Shenton is on for just a few seconds before the referee blows the whistle to end the match. An excellent second-half display from Man City and just what they needed after a tough start to 2015. The win keeps them seven points behind Chelsea, who have won 1-0 against Everton. Don’t forget you can watch re-runs of tonight’s Premier League games on Match Choice from 10pm on Sky Sports 2 and see all the goals on Sky Sports News HQ from midnight.
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Stoke make a change in the final minute as 17-year-old Ollie Shenton makes his Premier League debut in place of N’Zonzi.
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Three minutes to be added on at the Britannia.
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It looked as though Man City might close the gap on Chelsea with victory tonight but Willian has just scored to put the leaders 1-0 up against Everton.
Man City make another change as Nasri is replaced by Jesus Navas.
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Sidwell almost reduces the deficit with a shot from a corner but it is the wrong side of the post.
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Change for Stoke as Charlie Adam comes on for Whelan.
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CHANCE! It should be 5-1 as Dzeko gets away down the right and has just Begovic to beat. He could pass to Lampard in the middle but instead goes for goal and the keeper blocks his shot. Lampard does not look happy with that decision.
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Man City fancy a fifth as they come forward at pace with Nasri and Fernandinho, but Begovic does well to block Fernandinho’s shot.
Changes for both sides as Sidwell replaces Moses and Lampard comes on for Silva.
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Appeals for a penalty from Stoke as Mangala and Diouf go shoulder to shoulder in the box and the striker goes to ground. But it looked like he tripped himself over and the referee says no penalty.
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Brilliant from Nasri as he drives at the Stoke defence from midway inside their half, cuts inside and then fires a shot back across goal and into the corner. He wasn’t closed down quick enough but it was a fine finish from the Frenchman and that is definitely game over.
NASRI MAKES IT FOUR!
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It’s a long way back for Stoke now as Arnautovic whips in a cross from the right wing that Hart gathers on the bounce.
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Not a good sight for Man City fans as Aguero is down in the centre circle and is replaced by Dzeko. It doesn’t look too bad though, perhaps just cramp. We will wait and hear from Manuel Pellegrini.
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Man City now lead 3-1 as Aguero firmly sidefoots his penalty out of Begovic’s reach. Surely three points wrapped up for the champions?
AGUERO SCORES!
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No doubts about this decision as Cameron drags Silva down in the box, Aguero to take….
PENALTY TO MAN CITY!
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Bardsley wins a free-kick about 28 yards out, slightly to the left of goal…Moses takes but curls it over the bar.
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Wollscheid makes an important interception to cut out Milner’s cross from the right before it can get to Silva, who was lurking in the middle of the box.
Arnautovic is booked after he clatters into Milner and then says something to the referee that he doesn’t like.
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Crouch again involved as Cameron curls a ball into the box but the striker can’t direct his header on target. It was a tough chance as he had to get down low and it was a bit behind him.
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Man City are playing much better than they did in the first half but Stoke are still looking dangerous in the final third. This isn’t threatening from Crouch though as he fires over the bar from the edge of the area.
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Will Milner be Man City’s hero again? He scored the late free-kick against Hull at the weekend and has now made it 2-1 as he heads home from Nasri’s cross from the right wing. Not sure where the marking was as Milner was wide open, but it was a good header into the bottom corner.
MILNER HEADS IN TO MAKE IT 2-1!
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Cries for a penalty from Man City as Aguero goes down under pressure from Wollscheid in the box. The referee says no and he’s probably right as Aguero went down quite easily.
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It’s been an open start to the half with half chances at either end. Both teams look as though they are going for the win.
Milner goes into the book for a late and high tackle on Muniesa. He’s the second Man City player to be booked as Aguero was also shown a yellow card for the handball in the first half.
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Another opening for Man City as Milner plays a reverse pass through the defence to set Silva away. He has support in the middle as he gets into the area but tries to cut inside and is tackled.
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CHANCE! A great chance for Man City goes begging. Kolarov gets away down the left and drives into the box, but instead of sliding it across goal for Aguero to tap in he shoots from a tight angle and Begovic saves with his leg.
SECOND HALF: The visitors get the second half underway…
That is the last action in an entertaining first half. Stoke have been the better side and created more chances but it’s 1-1 at the break as Crouch’s header cancelled out Aguero’s opener.
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CHANCE! A bizarre moment as Aguero has the ball in the net from Silva’s cross but the flag is up as he knocked it in with his hand. He had no need to do that as the ball was heading in anyway from his header, but that is a brilliant spot from the linesman as the referee appeared to have given the goal. Aguero is booked for the handball.
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CLOSE! From one end to the other as Stoke almost break from a Man City corner but the visitors get the ball back and Zabaleta crosses for Fernando, who turns it just wide from a few yards out when he should score.
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Another ball into the box from the right wing for Stoke but this time four players are offside. The hosts have caused Man City problems down the flanks.
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That is Crouch’s 45th headed goal in the Premier League and he is now just one behind Alan Shearer’s record. You wouldn’t bet against him getting another tonight.
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What a response from Stoke! Arnautovic whips in a superb cross from the right wing that goes over Kompany and Crouch is there to head home and make it 1-1.
CROUCH MAKES IT 1-1!
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This is the definition of a solo effort from Aguero and it’s quite brilliant. He doesn’t win the header initially from a long punt downfield but quickly gets to his feet, collects the loose ball and drives towards the box. It looks as though he will cross but as Bardsley backs off he drills a low shot across goal and into the far corner. Just what Man City needed.
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WHAT A GOAL FROM AGUERO!
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This is a real waste from Fernandino. He is played through with a lovely ball from Silva but makes a complete mess of the chance as he gets into the box. He could go for goal himself but instead tries to play in Nasri and the pass pushes him out wide and he is tackled.
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No doubt that Mark Hughes will be the happier manager at the moment. Man CIty haven’t been able to get any control of the game and Stoke have played with greater purpose and energy.
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Decent spell of possession in the final third from Man City but it comes to nothing as a chipped ball into the box towards Aguero is cleared.
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CLOSE! Stoke really on top now as N’Zonzi forces Hart into a sharp save from the edge of the area and then Moses fires wide with the follow-up from 25 yards. That chance came from Silva giving the ball away, which he has done a couple of times already.
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OFFSIDE! Man City and Joe Hart are rescued by the linesman’s flag as Moses skips past Zabaleta far too easily and crosses into the middle. Hart should gather it but spills it out for Crouch to tap in. Fortunately for Man City the flag goes up for offside against Crouch, who was a couple of yards past the last man.
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And now N’Zonzi tries an ambitious volley at the other end that sails over the bar. It sat up well for him just outside the area but his shot was never troubling Hart.
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Ironic cheers from the home fans as Kolarov miscues a half volley from the edge of the area and it flies well wide of goal.
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Stoke roll the free-kick short but the shot is blocked by the wall. The hosts come again and Moses wins a free-kick as he is tripped by Zabaleta. Moses has looked bright in the early stages but the free-kick is wasted.
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There’s still a few empty seats at the stadium and they have missed a decent start to the game. Stoke now have a free-kick 30 yards as Mangala pulls Crouch to the floor. A clumsy challenge from the defender.
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CLOSE! Now Stoke go close as Moses fires in a shot that Hart can only parry behind. From the corner Crouch gets a free header and looks to have scored before Milner blocks the ball. Did he use his hand? Replays show it did hit his body then his arm, but the referee doesn’t give it. A let off for Man City as that was heading goalwards.
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Seeing that Aguero chance again it looked like a team-mate might have put him off slightly by running near him, but you still would have expected him to score.
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CHANCE! What a chance for Man City to take the lead. David Silva does well to break through two tackles, get into the box and then square for Aguero. But he can’t get any power on his shot and it rolls into the arms of Begovic.
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Stoke look as though they are almost playing a 4-4-2 with Arnautovic on the right, Moses on the left and Crouch and Diouf up front together. Milner seems to be playing just behind Aguero for Man City, who have seen most of the ball so far.
KICK-OFF: Stoke get the game underway….
Teams are on their way out at the Britannia and we are almost ready to go. Interesting to note that in 1998 Man City won 5-2 at Stoke but both teams were relegated to the third tier of English football on that day. How far they have both come since.
Chris Green is predicting an upset: ‘I think Stoke could pull off a shock tonight as Pellegrini’s side haven’t looked convincing of late. Prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Man City.’
As Ross says, Man City have been pretty good away from home this season. They have only lost once – at West Ham – and no home team has stopped them from scoring in their last 18 top-flight away trips. The last side to do it were Norwich, almost a year ago to the day.
Ross from Livingston says: ‘Well Man City, don’t know where to start, they haven’t won in 5/6 games now but they have played really good away from home. It won’t be an easy game but I just think City still have too much creativity upfront for Stoke so going for City win 2-1 with Milner and Aguero scoring’.
Manchester City are odds-on with Sky Bet at 7/10 to get their title charge back on track with a win at Stoke, who are rated 15/4 outsiders for the victory and 14/5 to record a draw. Sergio Aguero heads the first goalscorer betting at 7/2 while Peter Crouch and Mame Biram Diouf are each rated 8/1 from the hosts’ side of the market.
If you fancy getting in touch tonight with your views on the line-ups, or any predictions or thoughts on the game, then feel free to drop me an email at james.walker-roberts@bskyb.com and I will post the best ahead of kick-off.
The big team news for Stoke is that Jon Walters is not in the squad as he has a problem with his knee. Marc Wilson and Stephen Ireland also miss out with injuries after starting at the weekend so Peter Crouch, Marko Arnautovic and Geoff Cameron start. Man City bring Eliaquim Mangala and Aleksandar Kolarov into their backline and James Milner also starts in place of Edin Dzeko.
Stoke starting line-up:Begovic, Cameron, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Bardsley, Arnautovic, Nzonzi, Whelan, Moses, Diouf, Crouch. Subs: Butland, Palacios, Adam, Sidwell, Teixeira, Wilkinson, Shenton.
Man City starting line-up: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Fernandinho, Nasri, Milner, Silva, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Demichelis, Sagna, Navas, Lampard, Dzeko, Jovetic.
Good evening and welcome to our live and interactive text coverage of Stoke against Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium. It’s only February 11 but is it must-win time for Man City already tonight? If not then it’s surely must-not-lose time. They haven’t won for five matches in a row but if they fail to do so against Stoke then the champions could find themselves 10 points behind Chelsea by the final whistle. Team news coming up ahead of kick-off at 7.45pm…

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