The blue half of manchester left the Potteries with 3 points last night, after a comfortable win over a poor Stoke side. The Potters came into the game struggling with injuries to their talismanic captain Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and also playmaker Steve Sidwell. Man City however had a strong team, almost no injuries and the only players who were missing were African Cup Of Nations winning Wilfried Bony, and Yaya Toure.
The game started quite lively for the Potters, as Moses had a superb first half, taking on Zabaleta down the flank and most of the time, easily getting past. It was a strong Moses effort that led to England goalkeeper Joe hart to parry the shot into the path of Peter Crouch, who duly finished the effort off only to discover that he was about 2 yards offside. Moses again came close not long after when Steven N`zonzi`s effort was again parried out to Moses from Hart, and Moses placed the ball just wide of Hart`s post. Soon after though, Man City got their first. A punt upfield in search of Sergio Aguero from the back led to the little Argentine outmuscling Marc Muniesa in defence and breaking through. He headed to Begovic`s left hand post, easily passed Phil Bardsley and smashed home a stunning finish into the bottom right. A superb finish, it has to be said.
It wasn`t long until Stoke were back in the game, with a superb cross from Marko Arnautovic and of course, a header from Peter Crouch. Arnautovic broke free on the right wing, and made one of the crosses of his season to play the ball too high for Man City to do with, but perfect for Crouch to flick on and move level with Dion Dublin in the list of Premier League headed goals. 1 away from Alan Shearer now for Crouch, and 2 away from the record.
Now it was time for Man City to have a goal chalked off. They looked deadly on the break, and a cross into Aguero was turned into the net with ease, but the linesman had called referee Lee Mason over. As the ball flicked up off Aguero`s boot, with the ball about to go over the line, the striker inexplicably punched the ball in to the net when he was totally unmarked, and as the ball was already going in. Yellow card for Aguero, but if that had gone in, the second half to this game could have been much worse for Stoke. Stoke never got out of the blocks in the second half. They were worse than poor, whilst the Manc club were exceptional. Another cross into the box from Manchester City, and James Milner (who produced an outstanding performance on the night) ran from nowhere between the Stoke defence to leap up and bury the header to make it 2-1 to the away side.
It already looked like there was no way back for Stoke, and that was confirmed in the 70th minute when Geoff Cameron gave away a penalty. Cameron is a superb midfielder, but he definitely isn`t a right back as David Silva twisted and turned past the American, but he did catch Silva on the way past. Aguero steps up and buries the penalty low to Begovic`s left. 3-1, no way back for Stoke now and it felt like the Potters were going into damage limitation mode.
To cap off an awful night in Stoke on Trent, Samir Nasri broke through and almost every single Stoke player and buried a shot into the bottom right of the goal, making it 4-1. A wonderful run from the Frenchman as he took on and passed at least 5 Stoke midfielders and defenders to make the space and bury the effort into the corner. The game was firmly over for Stoke at this point. The only solace that anyone can take from the game was that after a horrible few weeks, teenage sensation Ollie Shenton came on to make his debut for the club, albeit for 20 seconds. At the final whistle, he was chased down by Lampard who offered some soothing words to the lad from Blythe Bridge, and also offered his shirt. A class act from Lampard, a night to remember for Shenton, but 90 minutes to forget for all Stoke fans.