Potters Much The Better Against Man City
Stoke took a point against Manchester City in a goalless draw earlier this afternoon at Britannia Stadium. The match, much better than the scoreline suggested saw Manuel Pellegrini the latest in a long line of managers who have failed to turn Stoke over in the league at home.
Stoke were much the better side, against a Manchester City outfit that had made several changes with Pellegrini having one eye on the Champions League match next week. Playing out to a raucous, but under-capacity crowd, some fans reported earlier in the week they were feeling the pain of the new ticketing system. Stoke turned to the unorthodox method of text message to advertise the fact that seats were still available for the clash.
Pitting his wits against his former employers, Hughes opted to give new signings Arnautovic and Ireland a place on the bench and the Potters were much stronger for lengthy periods and had much the better opportunities and intent. Jonathan Walters spurned Stoke’s best chance early into the match when he somehow managed to head wide when it looked easier to score from Charlie Adam’s cross. The lack of an end product then followed when Kenwyne Jones failed to score with only Joe Hart to beat.
Hughes showed his desire to find a win with the introduction of Ireland and Arnautovic on 70 minutes with almost immediate impact as Arnautovic nearly forced an own-goal from Nastasic. Arnautovic then sent a free-kick into the Boothen End car park and saw his chip hit the roof of the net as the match drew to a close. A promising first look at both new players in a Stoke shirt and seemingly the injection of pace and quality that Stoke need going forward.
Stoke were comfortable all afternoon and a comprehensive performance by the Potters which should have seen them score at least twice, maybe three times. If it were possible to critisise anything in that performance it is only the lack of a goal. Once Stoke add goals to their well-shaped overall play, they will be a formidable foe, but the ability to deliver a killer blow is one that has evaded Stoke for several seasons and wont come as a surprise to any of the Potters faithful.