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Premier League

  • December 21, 2011
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 46321

Manchester City 3-0 Stoke: Sergio Aguero double and Adam Johnson strike ensures hosts stay top of Premier League

Roberto Mancini's side maintained its unbeaten run at home in 2011 with this latest routine victory inspired by a certain Argentine

Manchester City has ensured it will remain top of the Premier League at Christmas after a routine 3-0 win at home to Stoke City on Wednesday.

The hosts dominated for the majority of the match and took the lead just before the half-hour mark when Sergio Aguero tapped in Yaya Toure’s pass. Adam Johnson got the club's second soon after with a great finish from outside the area.

Aguero wrapped the victory and the three points 10 minutes after halftime as the Argentine was left with a simple finish after good work from Samir Nasri and in truth. It was a simple win for the hosts.

Roberto Mancini made two changes from the side that beat Arsenal 1-0 at the weekend, bringing Gael Clichy back into the lineup at the expense of Pablo Zabaleta after serving out his suspension, while Johnson earned his fifth start of the season.

The first real chance of the match didn’t come until the 14th minute after a fairly even opening, but Johnson’s left-footed strike crashed against the far post as a direct result of cutting inside from the right wing.

Samir Nasri was the next to close a few minutes later as the Frenchman played a one-two with David Silva before thrashing wide of the right post.

The visitors managed a strong start to the match, standing up well to City’s attacking flair. However, the longer the half went on, the more the hosts started to take control with their midfield getting in shot after shot, but the majority of them were blocked.

City eventually made its dominance tell as it took the lead with 30 minutes gone.

After receiving a clever pass from Silva, Toure played the ball across the goal, and although Thomas Sorensen got a hand to it, Aguero was still able to tap the ball over the line for his 12th Premier League goal.

Less than seven minutes later, City got its second of the evening and it was quite a strike as Toure’s pressure just outside the Stoke box meant the ball fell to Johnson, and the former Middlesbrough man struck from 25 yards, finding the bottom corner emphatically.

Tony Pulis’ men managed a decent start but as soon as City grabbed its first, the signs were ominous and Stoke struggled to get the ball out of its own half and its inferiority continued until halftime.

The second period started in much the same way as the first ended, with City in control. Aguero was doing his best to double his tally, first trying his luck from just outside the area, then shooting from an angle after a brilliant solo-run, but Stoke was managing to keep the score down.

But that didn’t last long, as Aguero eventually got his second of the night in the 53rd minute as the Argentine tapped in Nasri’s low cross and the Frenchman was well picked out by Gareth Barry.

Aguero and City continued to pile on the pressure, with the former Atletico Madrid man going close once again less than a minute and a half later, but Roberto Mancini’s team was cruising.

Just shy of the hour mark, Aguero should have got his hat trick, poking the ball past the goalkeeper, but he couldn’t get enough on it or get in on target when one-on-one.

After effectively securing the three points, Stoke was allowed to get some time on the ball and enjoyed a fair amount of possession, but City had the team exactly where it wanted as the midfield and defense stopped attacks well as it approached the penalty area.

As the mach edged towards the final moments, the tempo slowed as City saw the game out with a few more shots and made sure they would be top of the league for Christmas.

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