Arnautovic brace downs league leaders Man City
5th December 2015 12.45pm
Marko Arnautovic`s brace gave Stoke all three points over league leaders Manchester City in the early kick off.
Mark Hughes told a huge gamble by playing without a recognised Striker as Ibrahim Afellay came in for Jon Walters whilst Geoff Cameron impressive midweek display meant he came in for Charlie Adam.
The Welshmen`s selection reaped benefits almost immediately when Bojan collected the ball expertly on the halfway line and managed to jink around a few challenges before the ball was worked over to the left wing. Xherdan Shaqiri picked the ball up and span past one challenge before a surge of pace beat his full back before smashing an expert cross which fizzed through the box which found the late arriving Austrian Arnautovic who smashed it home from within the 6-yard box.
Man City almost immediately got onto level terms through Kevin de Bruyne, but his strike was superbly saved by Jack Butland.
The conditions at the Britannia Stadium were difficult as there was a strong wind making the aerial ball unpredictable.
Stoke seemed to adapt to the conditions better than Manual Pellegrini`s men and doubled their lead with only 15 minutes on the clock.
Geoff Cameron, who was enjoying his new role in midfield snatched a ball before forcing his way into the Manchester City half and was allowed to wait for reinforcements. The American found Shaqiri in the midfield, and with a depth touch and turned created acres of space in which he could thread the ball through an eye of a needle for the superb Arnautovic to fire past the on-rushing Joe Hart at the first time of asking.
The Potters adapted to the new formation superbly, and were zipping the ball around superbly, with Afellay catching the eye in his midfield role, as he made some nice touches, some clinical passing and wasn`t afraid to get stuck in as he managed to regain possession a number of time.
Arnautovic and Stoke could have had three goals but the Austrian first header wide after a cross from Whelan, before the Austrian was found once again by Xherdan Shaqiri late in the half, but Arnie couldn`t grab his hat-trick as he shot cannoned back off the post.
Manchester City nearly got their selves back into the game in a rare positive attack but Jack Butland superbly pushed Kolarov`s shot onto the post.
Manuel Pellegrini ran the changes in the second half as he introduced Jesus Navas, Fabian Delph and Kelechi Iheanacho, but the Citizen`s failed to really create any real clear cut chances as the likes of Phillip Wollscheid and Ryan Shawcross, who has yet to concede a goal whilst being on the pitch in the Premier League this season, stood strong in the Potters defence.
There was still time the Potters to miss a few more opportunities as Bojan surged through the Manchester City defence and brought out a superb save from Joe Hart, which Marko Arnautovic`s follow up went agonizingly wide.
Bojan managed to bundle his way through once more, just before he was substituted, but his first touch was lacking and Nicolas Otamendi was able to clear Joe Hart`s lines.
Manchester City were forced to finish the game with 10 men as Fernando was forced off with injury.
The Alpine Messi almost completed a superb performance with a goal after some superb work by Afellay and Arnautovic, but Shaqiri failed to make any contact from the cross by Arnautovic when the goal was gapping.