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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
March 24, 2012
• 1:30 PM
• Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 27535
P. Crouch 59'
Y. Touré 76'
Well, that's me done. I hope you've enjoyed this LIVE! commentary of this evening's top flight match. Tweet me any thoughts and opinions on the game @Miles_Chambers if you fancy. Stick around on Goal.com for plenty more footballing news and analysis of this weekend's round of fixtures.
So the Blues sneak to the top of the table on goal difference, however anything but a loss for Manchester United at home to Fulham on Monday will see them return to the peak of the Premier League standings. Tony Pulis' side remain in 12th with their well-earned point. Expect much of the post-match reaction from the English manager to focus on Crouch's spectacular goal.
90' + 6'
So, despite a late Potters flurry the match ends Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City. The hosts went ahead through Peter Crouch's incredible volley but Yaya Toure's long-range, deflected shot levelled proceedings with a little under 15 minutes left. The home side pushed for a winner but in the end the points will be shared in an energetic encounter at the Britannia Stadium.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Yaya Touré
90' + 5'
Stoke have a free-kick late on, conceded by Yaya Toure, but it comes to nothing.
90' + 4'
It looks like Manchester City will fail to win away from home yet again at this rate. If the Blues are to beat Manchester United to the Premier League title they will really need to sort out their record away from the Etihad Stadium.
90' + 3'
Peter Crouch is cheered off the pitch to a hero's reception. No doubt if the score remains this way (or if the Potters score) Stoke fans inside this stadium will be eagerly anticipating watching the striker's wondergoal again and again tonight.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Yaya Toure has another crack on goal, this time with his left foot, but the shot is too high and sails over the woodwork and the outstretched Begovic.
90' + 1'
We enter the first of five minutes of stoppage time at the Britannia Stadium.
Wilson Palacios almost doubles the Stoke goal tally with a curling effort from a little under 25 yards out. The Honduran's shot teased that it would drop within Hart's left upright but in the end it didn't dip enough to threaten the target.
Tevez and Nasri both have efforts blocked from Stoke defenders as Manchester City continue to search for a winner this evening.
The ball is in the back of the Manchester City net but it's not going to be allowed as the corner had curled out of play before colliding with the accurate head of Stoke's Robert Huth.
Tevez has been practically invisible since his entry onto the field of play and Stoke have grown with the vocal home crowd and now they are the more likely side to score.
Jermaine Pennant whips it in from the Stoke left and Ryan Shawcross flicks it on, before turning to watch the ball fly over the crossbar. A close call.
Unsurprisingly it's Manchester City who are the more eager to score again with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. But pretty passing won't win you matches and Stoke counter admirably. The ball is nearly nundled in off Adam Johnson's knee but instead it's a corner to the hosts.
Wilson Palacios comes on for Stoke City's Matthew Etherington - a defensive substitution of sorts from Potters boss Tony Pulis, who is probably satisfied with taking a solitary point from the match.
We certainly have a game on our hands now. Both sides are pulsating forwards with menace when they get possession. But there can be only one winner. In fact, scrap that, there can also be no winner if the score remains this way. But for drama's sake let's pretend there can only be one winner, yeah?
Assist Gael Clichy
Goal Yaya Touré
GOAL!! Yaya Toure equalises for Manchester City!! In most other matches that would be the goal of the game, smashing the ball with his right foot from at least 35 yards out. The ball possibly takes a minor deflection off a Ryan Shawcross' head but that's taking nothing away from the splendid effort from the Ivorian. 1-1 with around 15 minutes left.
So, can Carlos Tevez have an impact on this match, the same way he positively impacted in Manchester City's comeback on Wednesday against Chelsea? Joe Hart urges his team-mates forward as he pelts a goal-kick high up the narrow Britannia Stadium pitch.
Before that substitution Jonathan Walters had an opportunity on the break to send Stoke 2-0 up but hit his shot wide on his right foot after a dummy outside the box.
Here comes Carlos...
Yaya Toure finally gets an effort away after a good minute of Manchester City trying to find a route into a Stoke box that was packed with opposition players. The Potters pretty much pitched their tents and made camp in their area for a while there. The Ivorian's shot was hit sweetly but also hit straight at Asmir Begovic.
Adam Johnson finds the ball falling at his feet mere yaards from goal put has to dribble it out wide to make something of it, winning a corner with his attempted cross.
I would have thought Stoke might sit back now they have a one-goal cushion against second-placed City but the hosts are still squeaking forwards with every Blues mistake.
Howard Webb is having to yell "calm down" at Mario Balotelli who reacts to a heavy tackle from one Stoke player with a rash challenge from behind on another. One thing Roberto Mancini will really not want right now is to play the remainder of the match with 10 men.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson is yellow carded for sliding recklessly on Manchester City substitute Adam Johnson. The home team have one hell of a 12th man behind them now as the Stoke fans roar in the aftermath of Crouch's goal.
Let's settle on 23-yards for that strike. Regardless of the distance, it was outrageous. As he hit it I was wondering what on earth was going through Crouch's mind, but surely he couldn't have dreamt he'd have hit the ball that perfectly. A volley to remember for sure. Will it be the winning goal or can Manchester City still get something from this game with less than half an hour remaining?
Goal.com correspondent Alex Fisher on that brilliant, brilliant goal: "If that is not goal of the month I will be very surprised! What a strike from Peter Crouch as he controls the ball on his right foot before unleashing a sensational strike from 20 yards over the top of Joe Hart. Cue a "poznan" type dance in the stands!"
Assist Jermaine Pennant
Goal Peter Crouch
GOAL!! Oh. My. Word. What an astonishing strike from Peter Crouch. The England stirker takes a touch 35-yards out on the right edge of goal then unleashes a vicious volley over the head of international counterpart Joe Hart. The Manchester City goalkeeper didn't have a chance and Stoke take the lead through a piece of priceless quality from the former Tottenham and Liverpool striker.
Micah Richards leaps for the ball defensively and clatters into team-mate Pablo Zabaleta, coming off much worse for ware. The England international is clutching his face, but once again it looks like a case of shaking the injury off after some medical attention.
Balotelli takes a free-kick for Manchester City from the left, about 35-yards from goal but his shot is driven into the wall. The home crowd, predictably, cheer at the Italian's poor attempt.
Jermaine Pennant gets hold of the ball for the first time since his substitution for Cameron Jerome but is deemed offside by the assistant referee.
Scrappy play from both sides and, if anything, Manchester City are on the back foot at the moment after a lively start to the latter half. Stoke are certainly not going to lie back and let the Blues walk all over them.
Joe Hart is forced into making his first save of the half from the corner to deny Jonathan Walter's attempt inside the box.
Matthew Etherington wins a corner for Stoke down the left with some nice wingplay.
Samir Nasri has a strike on goal from outside the box but the Frenchman scuffs the effort slightly, allowing Begovic to dive to his right and prevent the shot from bobbling into the Stoke goal.
Straight away Manchester City are pushing for the first goal of the match. Edin Dzeko beats the offside trap before being denied by Asmir Begovic when through on goal on the left inside the 18-yard box.
Both s and ready to let rip.ides are back on the oitch
About five minutes until tha game gets back underway. Nazrul Farhan writes on Twitter: "Hope that Man City will win the match...Tevez will do something to turn the result" and I'm inclined to agree. Of course, Stoke are far from out of the tie and a goal from the home side would certainly change the match significantly. The former Manchester United and West Ham United striker has to be introduced at some point in the second half either way though, right?
Fun fact: Man City played Chelsea on Wednesday while Stoke played Tottenham - those two teams played out a 0-0 draw earlier today. Who believes the score will remain that way in this match too? Tweet me @Miles_Chambers if you think otherwise.
Goal.com correspondent Alex Fisher subtly hinting at Carlos Tevez's possible intervention in the second half: "Half time at the Britannia Stadium and what a half we've had, there's been everything except a goal. Manchester City have dominated the game and played some nice football but they have lacked someone to put the ball in the back of the net. Pablo Zabaleta and Edin Dzeko have had the best chances but both have squandered them. Stoke have also had their moments and have caused the Man City backline some real problems and had it not been for Zabaleta's goal line clearance they would be ahead at the break. This game needs a spark, maybe a spark courtesy of a controversial Argentinian striker?"
45' + 4'
Half-time! The score remains Stoke City 0-0 Man City, and although the Blues have looked the better side the Potters went closest with a free-kick cleared off the line by Pablo Zabaleta.
45' + 3'
Plenty of pressure from the Potters in injury time but to no avail.
45' + 1'
We enter the first of three added minutes before half-time with a poor Stoke free-kick from the left flank.
A first glimmer of quality from Mario Balotelli. The forward weaves through three Stoke defenders before striking his shot straight at Begovic. Better from the Italy international.
Will this match be 0-0 come half-time? Just one minute of normal time remain.
Gareth Barry is really in the thick of things today, fouled by Whitehead on the Stoke right wing this time.
Heaven only knows how the ball didn't go into the Manchester City net just now! Stoke's corner, won by Peter Crouch, was floated into the box from the right and curled towards the back post after taking a tiny flick inside the area. Zabaleta was on hand to save the Blues' blushes with an off-the-line clearance at the back post and the ball is swiftly cleared.
Yellow Card Gareth Barry
More detail on that chance from Alex Fisher: "Oh why on earth does Pablo Zabaleta not hit that ball?? Great play by David Silva, leaving Glenn Whelan on his backside but the Argentine fullback chose to pass instead of shoot from inside the area. That's two chances he's had, maybe his first miss affected his confidence."
Pablo Zabaleta flounders in front of goal after David Silva's ball into the right-back offers a golden chance to power the ball on target, running in from the right flank.
The fans inside the stadium - namely the home fans - are growing restless with every refereeing decision against them. Manchester City are growing stronger and more threatening with every minute, which probably isn't helping Stoke's situation.
Alex Fisher, reporting from the Britannia Stadium, agrees with me: "Great chance for Man City, lovely cross from Gael Clichy and Edin Dzeko calmly fires his header way over the crossbar. Terrible finish."
Gael Clichy fires a cracking cross over Begovic's head but Dzeko's attempt on goal is high, wide and about as handsome as Tony Pulis in his baseball cap.
More from Goal.com correspondent Alex Fisher: "It is getting extremely lively here now all sparked off by Dean Whtehead's arm connecting with David Silva's head. The home fans are not happy with City or Howard Webb as they are denied what could've been a penalty for a foul by Kolo Toure on Peter Crouch and then a foul by Ryan Shawcross of Mario Balotelli."
Stoke striker Jerome, with his second chance of the match, propels a header way wide to the right of goal.
Well Ryan Shawcross has done his best to smother Balotelli with every part of his arms; when the Italian goes to the ground a free-kick to the Blues is rightly given. The subsequent cross is not very good, however, and Stoke have the ball back.
Dzeko, who has scored five in his last 25 appearances for the Blues, nods a header wide at the backpost when a cross is whipped in from the left.
The Stoke fans are seething as the Blues are given another free-kick. The boos increase a few notches when Silva - now sporting a bandana of sorts - runs back onto the pitch.
Howard Webb just has a little chat with the Stoke player and the game will continue, as Silva is given treatment to his head on the sidelines.
David Silva looks hurt and he's rolling about clutching his face on the floor. Ouch! Replays show Dean Whitehead launched his arm into the Spaniard's face, but it didn't look like there was any intent from the Stoke defender to be honest. Painful but not on purpose.
And yes, readers, I have resorted to telling you about the floodlights such is the current state of affairs in this match. I jest, I jest. The game isn't lacking moments of entertainment but Manchester City are not looking like the title chasing team they are. The quality ratio needs to be seriously tampered with.
Hart is yelling at the officials to turn the floodlights on as the sun's disappeared. A minute of two of yelling later - interspersed with a lofted effort from outside the box by Yaya Toure that drops over the bar - and the England international gets his wish.
A couple of corners being swung in from Silva put on both occasions the Stoke defence came out on top. No Aguero to challenge aerially for the Blues today, of course, as the Argetine is reportedly injured and didn't even make the City bench.
Glenn Whelan is on the end of a nasty challenge from Gareth Barry but after a good seeing to from the Stoke medic the midfielder looks fit to continue. Moments beforehand the home side fashioned a good passing move but Jon Walters went wide of Hart's right-hand post.
David Silva tries to score from about 25-yards out but his shot deflects a foot or two over the bar for a Manchester City corner.
More words of wisdom for Goal.com's man at the Britannia Stadium, Alex Fisher: "Lively start at the Brit, Stoke are trying to hustle the visitors but it's not really working as City settle into their neat passing football. No real chances as of yet, the best battle is between the fans! Some excellent vocal support on show here today."
Marc Wilson whips a fantastic ball in from deep on the left, Peter Crouch nods the ball square but Cameron Jerome fails to acrobatically kick the ball on target. The ball dribbles off for a Blues goal-kick and Joe Hart will be thankful that the former Birmingham City striker fluffed his effort so badly.
Yaya Toure goes down with a bang on the head, but Webb waves play on before giving Stoke a free-kick for Barry's clumsy foul on Stoke winger Matthew Etherington. The Ivorian Blues midfielder looks okay and slowly shuffles back to his feet.
Gareth Barry slots Gael Clichy in down the left, but the Manchester City left-back's cross goes straight into the arms of Stoke shot-stopper Asmir Begovic. At the other end the same incident happens but Hart holds onto the ball with equal ease.
A few forays forward from both sides but nothing worth writing home about. Stoke players are pressuring every touch of their opposition which is admirable, but the Citizens are managing (just) to pass around the rushing bodies.
Balotelli received man of the match in the FA Cup final between these two teams last season, which today's visitors won 1-0 at Wembley. Because the Blues finished in a Champions League position, however, the loss allowed Stoke to qualify for the Europa League.
Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross tackles Mario Balotelli on the right corner of the Potters box then clears. Impressive, decisive defending from the former Manchester United centre-back.
Blues attacker Samir Nasri whips a sweet delivery in from a 45-yard free-kick on the left, but the ball floats inches above striker Edin Dzeko's head.
I'll need to be careful referring to people as 'City' players won't I? Well Joe Hart is the Manchester City keeper, for the record.
And we're off! Stoke get us underway and plunge the ball forward but City goalkeeper Joe Hart calmly collects.
As we wait for the football to commence, a quick pre-match word from Potters boss Tony Pulis: “We have done well against the big clubs this season at home and have the opportunity to have a right crack at them. That is what we will try to do. If they play to their maximum and their players turn up it could be very difficult for us, but we will do our best.”
Howard Webb refereeing this evening at the Britannia Stadium, he leads the players out onto the pitch with only a few minutes left until the match gets underway. Tweet me your predicted scores @Miles_Chambers if you fancy or leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
City have only won two of their last seven Premier League away matches - can they conquer this Stoke side or will they take points away from the title chasers? They nearly beat Tottenham on Wednesday at White Hart Lane, were it not for a late Rafael van der Vaart to level the scoreline.
Blues boss Roberto Mancini said in his pre-match interview: “It’s always difficult here because they are a physical team.” He also confirmed Sergio Aguero is injured, but the Italian claims he doesn’t know where the striker’s injury is exactly. Mancini’s playing the mysterious card, apparently.
Still about 10 minutes until the game kicks off at 17:30 GMT. So what’s at stake today? Manchester City will go top of the table with a win at the Britannia Stadium, however everybody knows that the Potters are no pushovers. The team have not lost against any of the top five at home in the league season.
Saturday's Premier League round-up done! And now back to the mouth-watering match at hand...
Blackburn Rovers travelled to Bolton Wanderers in a vibrant match and it was the first game for the Trotters team since Fabrice Muamba - who remains in intensive care - collapsed from cardiac arrest against Spurs last weekend. The hosts won 2-1 after two David Wheater headers within six minutes towards the end of the first half.
Swansea City were denied a fourth straight home win in the Premier League as they were conquered 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium by David Moyes’ Everton. Goals from Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic secured the win for the Toffees.
Arsenal swatted aside Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in a 3-0 triumph. Kieran Gibbs scored the opener before Theo Walcott doubled the lead, then Mikel Arteta scored in stoppage time at the end of the game to finish the Villans off. The win puts a three point gap between their north London rivals, Spurs, in fourth.
Another team languishing at the bottom of the table, Wolves, were consigned to a 2-1 loss at the hands of newly promoted Norwich City. Grant Holt scored a brace (one sublimely via his head, the other from the spot) before seeing red for a tackle-from-behind with not long left in the match.
Sunderland beat relegation-threatened QPR in a 3-1 encounter at the Stadium of Light. Djibril Cisse was deservedly sent off for a woeful tackle midway through the second half. The west London club drop into the bottom three with the north east defeat.
The biggest shock of the day so far? Liverpool lost 2-1 at home to Wigan Athletic. Roberto Martinez’s side failed to climb out of the relegation zone with the win but that victory will surely swell the Latics’ confidence as the last eight games linger.
The early kick-off ended Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham. Spurs had more chances to win at Stamford Bridge but should not be too disheartened as they retain a five point gap between fourth (where they sit) at fifth (where Roberto Di Matteo’s men remain).
And now, a (kind of) speedy round-up of today’s Premier League results:
Some pre-match details from Alex Fisher, who is Goal.com's man at the Britannia Stadium this evening: "Tony Pulis has changed three of his four midfield players for this game with Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead and Matthew Etherington coming back into the side in place of Salif Diao, Wilson Palacios, and Jermaine Pennant with the latter two being named on the subs bench. Manchester City make two changes to the side that beat Chelsea in midweek with Sergio Aguero and Nigel De Jong dropping out for Edin Dzeko and Gareth Barry. Aguero is not involved at all for the visitors after he apparently missed training yesterday but De Jong is named on the bench alongside Carlos Tevez."
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Kolo Toure, Clichy; Barry, Yaya Toure; Silva, Nasri, Balotelli; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Johnson, Kolarov, Savic, Tevez, De Jong.
Stoke City: Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Jerome, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington; Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Pennant, Upson, Delap, Shotton, Palacios.
Welcome to Goal.com’s play by play coverage of Stoke City versus Manchester City. I’m Miles Chambers - Twitter.com/Miles_Chambers - and I’ll be your mediator between this match and the comfort of your homes, cars or wherever else you have decided to be this Saturday evening. The line-ups are coming right up.
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