Manchester City outclassed Stoke as the Sky Blues paid scant regard to their suspect record at the Bet365 Stadium, winning 4-1 today. The Blues were buoyed by the news of Shaqiri missing the game as he would have been up and about in his quest to perform against Pep Guardiola. After an initial period of settling down, City were awarded a soft penalty (which eventually happened to be the norm today) and Aguero stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick banishing his demons from midweek. He further added another goal as City established a stranglehold on the match. But they started off sluggishly after the break and Mike Dean awarded another ridiculous penalty, this time against Manchester City enabling Bojan to cut the deficit in half.
The Etihad outfit were showing clear signs of fatigue, this being their 3rd match in a week, but Stoke simply lacked the quality up top to take advantage of that. And City navigated a tricky period without any significant danger to the goal before City hit them twice on the counter with Nolito scoring two tap-ins to open his League account.
It is increasingly looking like City have two similar sorts of Goalkeepers and Willy does not solve the problem for which Hart has been dropped. A couple of dodgy moments but brave with the passes as well and did extremely well to block Bardsley’s thunderbolt and dealt with set-pieces well.
100% for his efforts but was given a tough time especially due to Arnautovic’s physicality but the old warhorse held on well and put in a gutsy performance. Typical Zaba.
Has to work on his distribution but is an asset on days such as these with the physical nature of Stoke needing someone like Otamendi in the defence line. Won City the penalty. Courtesy Mike Dean.
Busiest of his 3 days as he had to deal much more off the ball and made a couple of vital interceptions along with quite a fair share of tussles with the Stoke attackers. But has immense scope of improvement and can go on to be City’s best defender in the coming months.
Same as Stones, had plenty to deal with in comparison to the other 2 matches but fared reasonably well. Needs a breather.
Subdued by his standards but the physicality of Stoke’s play hardly gave him time on the ball. Attempted an exquisite aerial through ball which almost came off.
Pulled the strings and kept the game flowing. Kept glued to the ball and flourished in his new role. Might want to work on his finishing, though.
DE BRUYNE- 7/10
Still adapting to his new role. Frustratingly for him, the tweak in formation looks to be hindering his assist and goals potential. But was involved in plenty of positive moves.
No dip in performance. His reinvigoration continues and the English forward carried on his good form. Very much a work in progress but gradually doing what a top class winger should do.
Workmanlike display from the Spaniard. Honest and hardworking and troubled the full-backs quite a bit. His final delivery still needs to be sorted though and Pep will undoubtedly put him through the drills in training.
Another match. Another couple of goals. The Argentine is going from strength to strength. 6 goals in 3 games and yet to hit peak form. Ominous signs for the rest.
Created 2 goals in a matter of minutes. Will get more game time as the season progresses.
Hardly got a look in, but he did twice and twice he put the ball in the back of the net. Will be raring to go after a rest and 2 goals!