HALCYON DIGEST: Manchester City 3-0 Stoke City, December 2011

When Manchester City welcomed Stoke City to the Etihad Stadium in December 2011 circumstances for the home team were slightly different to those of this Saturday lunchtime’s fixture between to the two sides. Whilst the home team are currently looking to consolidate a top four spot in the Premier League aspirations were much loftier back in December 2011.

Indeed, in 2011 Roberto Mancini’s side had enjoyed an excellent first half of the season and were pitting themselves against Manchester United in a two horsed title race, with the Blues two points ahead going into this round of fixtures. Tony Pulis’ Stoke side were a notoriously difficult side to play against but City always managed to have a fairly decent record against them at the Etihad and that record didn’t ever look in danger in this match.

Manchester City's Ivorian midfielder Yay

City started on the front foot and, despite winning the last the four games, Stoke set out to contain City and snuff out a draw. That strategy seemed doomed from the outset, though, as Mancini’s men were in no mood for being on the receiving end of an upset. The home team created a plethora of chances in the first half and Adam Johnson came closest to opening the scoring when his deflected long range effort rattled against the crossbar.

Those in attendance at the Etihad didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal, though. After Samir Nasri and David Silva worked their way to the edge of the area after a corner, the Spaniard played through Yaya Toure to the left of the goal. The Ivorian tried to pick out Vincent Kompany, still up from earlier corner, with a low cross and the captain’s shot spilled to a grateful Sergio Aguero who tapped in from point blank range.

Manchester City's Argentinian striker Se

Before the half was over City doubled their lead thanks to another Johnson long range strike, this one fortunately finding the back of the net. After a poor clearance, the winger made some space for himself to rifle a shot from outside the area to beat Stoke stopper, Thomas Sorensen, at the near post. The second half was pretty much a formality as City saw the game out in relative comfort. Aguero doubled his tally with another simple tap in after Gareth Barry and Nasri combined nicely to tee up the Argentine centre forward with a low cross from the right from Nasri.

Manchester City's Argentinian striker Se

The 3-0 win ensured that City remained top of the league, two points ahead of United, and meant that City would be top of the league for the first time since 1929. It also meant that City were unbeaten at home for the calendar year of 2011, having won all but two home games. A quite remarkable record.

Manchester City v Stoke City - Premier League

Naturally, Tony Pulis lamented City’s wealth in his post-match interview. He said:

Manchester City are better than us, we’ll take that one on the chin. It’s one of best years from January to January in the club’s history. We are striving to get better but it will take us longer than Manchester City because we haven’t got £230m or £240m to spend.

City XI: Hart, Richards (Savic – 59′), Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Johnson, Barry (Milner – 83′), Nasri, Silva (Balotelli – 68′), Y Toure, Aguero

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, K Toure, De Jong

Watch the highlights of the game here.

On this day, Katy Perry was sitting at 20 in the UK Singles Chart with The One That Got Away.

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Written by Rob Toole

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