Writer: Michael Stockley
Date:Friday December 23 2011
When this fixture was mentioned earlier in the week I think every stokie was thinking that this one one you just have to expect to lose. Lets face it Man City had been beaten only by Chelsea and have now racked up 14 straight wins at home which is an impressive stat to have.
I am not sure if you are like me but I went into this one thinking if we can keep the score down then I will be a happy man. I think in the end the way in which we set up and the lack of chances we had its safe to say TP has written this one off, even if he won't admit it in public.
Manchester City made sure they would be top at Christmas for the first time since 1929 as they comfortably beat us 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
For a time it worked as City struggled to fashion a clear-cut opening.
From the off set the lads stayed in their own half not daring to attack as they knew exactly what would happen, Man City would counter and no doubt score. Stoke battled nicely in the first 20 minutes only to concede to the player I sounded out in my last article as the main threat - Sergio Aguero. A player showing utter class who is thriving playing with some of the best players and in my mind the best midfield around right now.
Johnson did hit a stunning effort against the bar prio to taking the lead as an early warning sign but only thanks to a pretty hefty deflection off Marc Wilson did it stay out.
Shortly after taking the lead through Aguero things got much worse as Adam Johnson fired in a 25 yard thunderbolt to seal things for the hosts. Stoke never looked like even getting up the field so against a team like Man City you have to expect to be punished.
Aguero helped himself to a third in the second half to poor more misery on stoke who lets face it never even had a shot on target in the game. Its safe to say that we went there expecting to try and keep the score down and in all honesty as I touched upon can you really expect more?!
I heard grumblings from fans complaining that we should of attacked them more and 'at least try'. My responce would be that some clubs MUCH bigger than us have not stood a chance and they play more open with better quality and they never found a way through. Do you really want us to attack a team like this and get a good hiding and no doubt letting in 6 or 7?
Personally 3-0 isn't that bad and I would rather we focus on the fictures we can without doubt win (Villa & Wigan). Looking at the run of fictures we have a great chance of winning the next few and hitting a new high for the club come the end of the season.
Aguero was 90 seconds too late to claim the Premier League's 20,000th goal but he nearly completed his hat-trick shortly afterwards, when he was sent through by Toure, but only succeeded in flicking his shot wide of the far post. You could see what he was trying to do, lift the ball over tommy and into the corner. I couldn't help thinking that if he would of kept it simple then the hattrick without doubt would of been his.
Although the game was very much taking a steady approach to full time, Mancini brought on Mario Balotelli and he went out to make a point. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box and was not happy when referee Mike Dean turned down his penalty appeal when Robert Huth used an arm to block a shot, a clear penno!
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Date:Friday December 23 2011
|9. Crystal Palace||6||2||2||2||0||8|
|12. Leicester City||6||2||2||2||-1||8|
|13. West Ham||6||2||1||3||0||7|
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