Manchester City vs. Stoke City: Winners and Losers from Premier League Game
Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal of the match in the 58th minute when his long, powerful run culminated in a finish that Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart should have saved, and despite their prolonged spells of pressure, the hosts simply couldn’t grab an equaliser.
Following are some of the winners and losers from the encounter.
Winner: Phil Bardsley, Who Didn’t Give an Inch
Phil Bardsley has had his detractors, but on Saturday the Stoke right-back was vital in his side’s 1-0 victory away to Manchester City.
The 29-year-old didn’t given an inch down his flank, repeatedly stifling the likes of David Silva and Samir Nasri.
In the 51st minute he got a crucial touch on Nasri’s effort from in close to force a corner when the Frenchman might have found the back of the net.
Loser: Lee Mason, Who Should Have Awarded Stoke a Penalty
That Stoke had to wait until nearly the hour-mark for their opener was rather unjust given referee Lee Mason’s failure to award them a first-half penalty.
Manchester City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov clearly fouled Stoke attacker Mame Biram Diouf—twice—and should have been penalised for his latter challenge inside the 18-yard box.
Instead, the hosts got a let-off they eventually failed to capitalise on.
Winner: Glenn Whelan, Who Did Yeoman’s Work in Midfield
Glenn Whelan is one of the Premier League’s most underappreciated midfielders, but once again on Saturday the Republic of Ireland international put in a workmanlike 90 minutes for the Potters.
In addition to completing an eye-popping 96 percent of his passes (statistics courtesy WhoScored.com), Whelan also won all his aerial battles, threw himself into four tackles and provided a reliable shield in front of the defense.
The 30-year-old’s midfield partner, Steven N’Zonzi, who was similarly efficient, deserves mention as well.
Loser: Fernandinho, Who Allowed Diouf a Passage to Score
Fernandinho wasn’t named to Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-up on Saturday, but he was introduced in the 38th minute following an injury to Fernando.
He had what turned out to be a forgettable afternoon.
Not only did he struggle to play a killer pass, but he was also repeatedly overrun on the counter-attack and in the 58th minute was nutmegged by Mame Biram Diouf, who proceeded to score the winner.
Winner: Asmir Begovic, Who Came Up Big When Needed
Once again, Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was worth points to his side in a game they might have otherwise lost.
The 27-year-old didn’t have many saves to make, but he twice denied Yaya Toure—the latter stop a diving effort just seconds before Mame Biram Diouf went downfield to score.
Loser: Stevan Jovetic, Who Went off the Boil
Stevan Jovetic impressed in his first two matches for Manchester City this season, but on Saturday he was nowhere near the attacking force he showed himself to be against Liverpool.
Over the 90 minutes the Montenegro international failed to take a single shot—nevermind hit the target—and in the 50th minute his afternoon was summed up perfectly by a poor pass intended for Aleksandar Kolarov that rolled well behind the left-back.
City required finishing on Saturday, and disappointingly for them they didn’t get it from Jovetic.