ANALYSIS: Manchester City 0-1 Stoke City

Stoke City came away with all three points yesterday after beating Manchester 1-0 at the Etihad. The result was something of a surprise for most onlookers and inflicted City’s first defeat of the season. Here’s a look at the main talking points.

City Didn’t Deserve Anything

When a team gets what they deserve in football there is invariably little room for complaint and that was largely the case yesterday. City were slow in their movement, sloppy in their passing and short on ideas whenever they approached the final third. It struck me that there was almost an air of complacency amongst the players given the stature of the opposition which is surprising given that Manuel Pellegrini has struggled in all his previous encounters against Stoke since arriving in Manchester last summer. It was only after Stoke scored that City played with any impetus but by then it was too late.

I have heard some grumblings that City should have had a penalty near the end which might well be true but a draw would have probably been unfair result (assuming that the penalty was awarded and subsequently scored).  Of course, Stoke also had a shout for a penalty in the first half but that may be largely ignored by aggrieved City fans.

Credit to Stoke

As much as I am not a fan of Stoke City or Mark Hughes credit where credit is due. They had a game plan and they executed it well. They defended extremely deep and looked to create chances on the break. This shouldn’t have been a surprise to City given that this is exactly how they set up in Manchester last season. On that occasion City did just about enough to win. Stoke’s approach to the game is certainly not attractive but they can hardly be expected to come to City and try and play swash bucketing football. From City’s perspective it was worrying how vulnerable they looked on the break. Even the most passive observer could have figured out Stoke’s game plan so quite how City failed to cope with such an obvious tactic is worrying.

The Goal

It gets worse the more you watch it. Kolarov should have taken Diouf out of the game really: a cynical approach but arguably no different to the type of gamesmanship that Stoke employed as they time wasted towards the end of the game. Fernandinho was already on a booking so it was always going to be difficult for him to commit to a challenge. Joe Hart, however, really should have saved what was a very tame effort that was shot straight at him. I doubt I am on the only one who is wondering how long it will be before Willy Caballero is called into action.


This was an early season game and the performance suggested as much. It may be no bad thing to get such a performance out of the way early in the season. That said, the fixtures that are on the horizon really mean that yesterday was a game that City could ill afford to lose. It would be a huge surprise if City were to get six points from both Chelsea and Arsenal especially considering that Bayern Munich away is sandwiched in between. Yesterday was by no means a disaster in terms of the entire season but it has certainly put a dent into what was an otherwise smooth start to the season.

Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter

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7 comments on “ANALYSIS: Manchester City 0-1 Stoke City
  1. Thank goodness I don’t have to watch that carp every week.

    Sagna a huge disappointment, Kolarov constantly in no mans land. As Stoke’s confidence grew, ours evaporated.

  2. I don’t like money! I don’t like wages! I don’t like City! Steve wake up mate. Did you used to come to City in the old second division mate? 30 plus thousand, that’s where City fans were when we were ***t, like Stoke are!

  3. Rob, I think there have been signs of increased vulnerability to quick counter attacks in all our league games so far.
    In particular, remember the brilliant last ditch deflection by Fernando at Newcastle?
    This has always been in the background though, because of our style.
    When we don’t score, it’s highlighted. Credit to Stoke, though, they did what they needed to do, and punished us accordingly. We move on.

  4. Pretty much agree with your write up – the disappointment comes from us not being able to deal with what we must have known would have been the Stoke approach. Fair play to Stoke for the discipline they showed – not great to watch but they came to do a job and they did.

    Aguero didn’t look 100% to me – and the rest of the team were off the pace – perhaps the consolation is that its an early season kick up the backside. I’m not quite as critical as you about Joe Hart – he should never have been left so exposed.

    All in all we really cant grumble about the outcome

  5. Don’t forget that Yaya should have been sent off for persistent fowling and play acting. I don’t like Man City who seem to think spending is the only option and paying over inflated signing fees/wages has virtually ruined the league. Where we’re you when you were ***t.

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