Talking points : Man City stumble at Stoke

Published 12/05/2015, 10:13 AM EST
Football Soccer – Stoke City v Manchester City – Barclays Premier League – Britannia Stadium – 5/12/15 Marko Arnautovic celebrates with Xherdan Shaqiri after scoring the first goal for Stoke City Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Stoke City have been able to gain some positive results against Manchester City since Mark Hughes took over. But none would have been more special than tonight’s magnificent result as they beat the Citizens 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium, courtesy of Marko Arnautović’s brace.


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The Potters outplayed their opponents, and always looked like the team more likely to score. City, who have missed out on a chance to ensure that they stay atop the league, have now lost 4 games in 15 in the Premier League. Here are major talking points from the match-



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  1. The Stoke City Attack

Stoke City had Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautović, all start against Manchester City. A team that have been noted for their defence rather than attack, now possess a devastating threat up front.

Shaqiri and Arnautović combined well with precise passing from the former to the cool finishing by the latter, giving Stoke an early but commanding lead over the Citizens inside of 20 minutes. They were the team that looked to score throughout, with Arnautović even hitting the woodwork, missing out a first half hattrick.

Afellay and Krkic also were a continuous thorn in the shaky Manchester City defence, who were lucky to not concede more than 4, with Stoke coming close on more than one occasion.

  1. Stoke are still physical with their strong defence

Stoke have always been known for their defence in the Premier League era, with some even comparing them to rugby-like defending, owing to the physical nature of their game. Mark Hughes, through the summer additions, has created a strong (although inconsistent) attack force.

Yet the old essence of Stoke City still remains and their defenders are strong and physical. Their back 3 was able to nullify City’s star-studded attack and out-muscle them near the Stoke goal. Physical and not pleasant to some, their defence has allowed Stoke to grind out results and that’s a big factor in helping them stay up.

  1. City’s woeful defence

Without their captain Vincent Kompany, City are just horrible in defence. After keeping 5 consecutive clean sheets over the first 5 games, City have kept just 2 in the next 10. 7 goals were conceded by the Citizens in the last 3 games, including today’s defeat against Stoke.

Martin Demichelis, once again was responsible for sloppy defending that led to the goals for Stoke City. The attacking players do not come back to assist their defence when the need arises. Otamendi is the only bright spark in Man City’s defence, but with half their defenders proving to be unreliable, Pellegrini has a massive problem to sort out.

  1. City need a clinical finisher in Aguero’s absenece

Sergio Aguero, when he plays, is the most lethal striker in the Premier League. But he is injury prone. In his absence, City were usually led by Edin Dzeko who was a good back up. Wilfried Bony is a good bench player, but is just not anywhere close to Aguero’s league. The goals, often match winning goals of Aguero are sorely missed by the Citizens.

This time, Bony was not able to really convert any chance created or, make runs at the Stoke defence like Aguero would do against the opposition. Unless he can improve his finishing in the Argentine striker’s absence, City might consider altering tactics when Aguero is out, or buy in a new striker in the Winter window.


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  1. Injuries are going to cost City dearly

Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta are all out for Manchester City. Today, Fernando limped off injured after City used their 3 substitutions, with a probable hamstring injury. City played the closing legs of the game with just 10 men, and were not able to press on further.

With a growing list of injuries among regular starters for Pellegrini, and the fact that no one else seems to be really taking on the responsibility and up their games, these injuries are going to cost City dearly in the Premier League and maybe in the Champions League, if they are unable to secure first. With 4 defeats, it seems that if the Citizens lose the full 3 points two more times, they might just be out of the title race.


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The medical team at Man City are going to have their work cut out for them.



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