Manchester City vs. Stoke City: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterFebruary 22, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

They made hard work of it, but Manchester City kept pace with Chelsea and Arsenal atop the Premier League standings thanks to Yaya Toure’s winner in a nervy, 1-0 win over Stoke City at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts, who were looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, were in control of their guests from the opening whistle, and in the seventh minute, Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was forced into his first of many impressive saves when he tipped Fernandinho’s shot from distance over the crossbar.

But Stoke allowed very few openings despite the superior possession and ball movement of City, and in the 11th minute, Marko Arnautovic did well to track back and dispossess David Silva, who had looked to spring a teammate in front of goal.

Two minutes later, Marc Wilson made an absolutely vital block on Pablo Zabaleta, who had played a neat one-two with Alvaro Negredo before having a go from in close.

Marko Arnautovic put in a good display for Stoke City.
Marko Arnautovic put in a good display for Stoke City.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

And so it went through much of the opening period, although in the 21st minute, Charlie Adam came close to a surprise goal for the visitors when his shot following a good layoff from Arnautovic forced Joe Hart into making a diving save to his left.

Toure and Samir Nasri also had chances to open the scoring before the halftime whistle, and in the 45th minute, Edin Dzeko somehow missed a sitter from in close, as the two sides went back down the tunnel without a goal to separate them.

The second half played out much the same as the first, and nine minutes after the restart, Ryan Shawcross had to stretch all his neck muscles to nod away a dangerous Zabaleta cross.

Nasri and Silva were the next to try their luck and come up short, but in the 70th minute, City were finally able to break the deadlock.

Nasri, spotting Kolarov’s run down the flank, played a neat pass for the Serbia international, who, in turn, delivered a low, hard cross into the goalmouth for Toure to turn into goal.

It was the least City deserved, and just four minutes later, they should have had a second when Dzeko, the ball at his feet and the net gaping, somehow failed to score what would have surely been among the easiest goals of his life.

Nevertheless, by now City were turning the screw and clamping down on Stoke’s counter-attacking opportunities, although Adam nearly connected with Peter Odemwingie with four minutes remaining.

Then Erik Pieters made another important block in front of Begovic, and time ran out as a physical, if not one-sided contest ended in favour of the Manchester outfit.

“I thought it we controlled the game and it was a matter of time before we scored,” reflected City manager Manuel Pellegrini after the match, as per the BBC.

But Stoke boss Mark Hughes was rather more disappointed with the result, telling reporters that but for a couple of errors, his side might at have nicked at least a draw.

“I thought we were a threat on the break when we regained possession and out of possession we were organised. They found us really hard to break down,” he said.

 

Key Player Grades

Yaya Toure: A+

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Phot
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In yet another superb all-around performance for Manchester City, the Ivory Coast international touched the ball 132 times, completed 90 per cent of his passes and made four tackles on the defensive side of the ball. All that in addition to scoring the only goal of the game. 

 

Glenn Whelan: B+

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Glenn Whelan of Stoke City shoots past Aleksandar Kolarov of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Manchester, Engla
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

You sometimes wonder where Stoke would be without the Republic of Ireland international. One of the Premier League’s more underappreciated midfielders, the 30-year-old was once again among his side’s most important players against a quality opponent, completing 88 per cent of his passes and making three tackles while closing down space and throwing his body in front of shots.

Manchester City Player Ratings
PlayerRating
Hart9
Zabaleta8
Kompany8
Demichelis7
Kolarov9
Nasri8
Toure9
Fernandinho7
Silva8
Negredo6
Dzeko5
Substitutes
Jovetic6
Garcia7
Navas7
BR UK
Stoke City Player Grades
PlayerGrade
Begovic8
Cameron8
Wilson8
Shawcross8
Pieters8
Whelan8
Adam7
Walters6
Odemwingie7
Arnautovic7
Crouch6
Substitutes
Etherington6
Palacios6
Ireland6
BR UK

 

What’s Next?

Next up for Manchester City is the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland, which will be played at Wembley on March 2. They’ll then resume their FA Cup campaign at home to Wigan on March 9. Stoke, meanwhile, will host Arsenal on March 1 and travel to Norwich on March 8.

 

 

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.