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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
February 22, 2014
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 47038
Y. Touré 70'
That's it from me, Greg Taylor, thanks for being with us, have a great Saturday night.
City's win keeps them within touching distance of Arsenal and Chelsea with a game in hand. Stoke meanwhile slip back to 14th and just three points above the relegation zone.
City grab a crucial home win thanks to a second half strike by Yaya Toure. Stoke held out for 70 minutes but were unable to last the full 90, despite some heroic defending by Shawcross and Pieters. Begovic was excellent and saved a number of good City chances, but eventually the pressure told.
FULL TIME: MAN CITY 1-0 STOKE CITY
90' + 3'
CHANCE! One last throw of the dice by Stoke, Adam whips in a cross to the back post, it falls to Ireland but the former City man drills his shot well wide.
Yellow Card Edin Dzeko
Toure is down receiving treatment after getting a small body check by Shawcross. But he's back up as we enter the first minute of stoppage time.
City have now had 76 per cent possession and 19 attempts on goal to Stoke's six. The Potters have only had one shot this half. City have a throw on the nearside, Silva controls it and flicks it back to Kompany who switches to Kolarov. Can City put some gloss on this probable win?
City have taken their foot off the gas and are looking to just see out the final few minutes with no trouble. They are patiently knocking the ball about trying to keep Stoke chasing.
The visitors make their final change as Whelan comes off for Matthew Etherington, who is returning from three-and-a-half months out with a back problem.
Despite it still only 1-0, Stoke don't look like they have a hope of getting back into this. They've haven't really progressed out their own half since the first half hour, and Crouch looks a dejected figure up top on his own.
City fans look pretty glum despite their side leading 1-0. They've been spolit this season, their average of three goals a game at home was frankly ridiculous and it's only fair they're now letting teams have a chance at the Etihad.
Former City player Ireland replaces Walters and they immediately sing his old song. Touching. Dzeko hits a low cross in from the right, Silva controls brilliantly but can't quite get the shot away as Pieters intercepts.
Walters was just caught by Zabaleta and we're having a small injury time out. City look hungry for more goals now, and Garcia is denied by the excellent Begovic from 20 yards. City have a corner.
HOW DID HE MISS THAT? Dzeko has been poor all day and he's just missed a sitter. Toure plays it wide to Navas who puts a low cross into the back post where Dzeko is waiting but the big Bosnian fails to make proper contact from three yards out and Cameron clears. He duly boots the post in frustration.
What can Stoke do now? After such a heroic 70 minutes they must feel deflated. Toure just ghosted in between the defence, Shawcross just swicthed off.
Assist Aleksandar Kolarov
Goal Yaya Touré
GOAL! City break the deadlock and it's Yaya Toure with the crucial goal. Nasri plays it wide to Kolarov who drills in a low cross towards Toure who does brilliantly with an improvised finish from just six yards out. It's harsh on Stoke but it has been coming.
Jovetic hits a stinger of a shot from 30 yards out, Begovic can't hold onto it but is quick to claim the ball. City just cannot get beyond the Stoke defence and they only have a quarter of the match left to do it.
Stoke get into City's half, but Crouch is all on his own with 5 City players surrounding him. It's got to be a lonely job for Crouch sometimes. Navas gets to to byline and hangs a cross up at the back post but Shawcross heads it away.
Odemwingie tries to run past a few City players but gets caught in possession. Nasri is through on goal but Odemwingie atones for his error and makes a great slide tackle. Navas has just come on for Fernandinho, Pellegrini is officially 'going for it'.
Jesús Navas González
STAT ATTACK: Stoke have gone 10 league matches without keeping a clean sheet, conceding 21 goals in that period. Can they break that record today?
Silva again causing problems down the left, he drifts inide and is surrounded by red and white striped shirts as he tries to twist and turn and find a pass. That sums up the match so far.
Toure's free kick is straight into the wall much to the delight of the Stoke fans. Here come City again though, it's relentless. Surely Hughes will make a change soon, his players must be shattered.
Negredo, the beast' makes way for Jovetic. Negredo hasn't looked like himself since his return from injury, can Jovetic, the former Fiorentina man make the difference. City have a free kick from 25 yards out, Toure is about to take it.
The contrast in playing style is most epitomised by Silva and Nasri's beautiful close control and mesmerising runs. Stoke players simply cannot get near them in quality, but they're putting in a great shift to frustrate the hosts.
Crouch is playing well today, Kompany and Toure both have a bite at him near the half way line before Chris Foy blows up for another Stoke free kick. City still unable to find a breakthrough or create a clear cut chance.
Good ball by Toure over the top puts Shawcross in a spot of bother with Negredo breathing down his neck. He boots it off for a City throw and Stoke survive.
Silva dances through the Stoke defence and cuts the ball back to Dzeko but the Bosnian hits it high and wide. It looks like we've picked up from where we let off, can Stoke hold on for another half?
We're back underway, the Potters with kick off.
Some first half stats for you. City had 71 per cent posession in the first half and 10 shots to the Potters five. Can they make it count in the next 45 minutes?
I wouldn't be surprised to see Navas come on at some point to try and get in behind the Stoke defence. So far though, the scoreline is probably a fair reflection the game, Stoke had a few chances themselves, notably Adam's low drive saved by hart. Hughes will hope for a lot more of the same in the second half.
HALF TIME: Stoke have defended well and not allowed City much time on the ball. You would expect City to find a break through eventually but the Potters are getting 11 men behind the ball and restricting City to having long range efforts which Begovic is mopping up with ease.
45' + 2'
Fernandinho has a good effort well saved by Begovic, the Brazilian lets fly from 30 yards but is unable to score.
45' + 1'
CLOSE! Dzeko plays a neat one two with Silva and whips a brilliant curling effort just wide from 25 yards out. Probably the nearest they've come to scoring. Can Stoke hold on before the break?
Arnautovic is down injured which allows all the Stoke team to run over to the bench and get a drink. Good tactics by the Potters, giving themselves a breather and stopping City mounting pressure before the break.
Crouch is defending on the edge of the box, but loses it and Kolarov has time to set himself up for a shot, he hits it hard but drags it just wide and Stoke survive.
CLOSE! Delightful play by City's attacking players, Silva feeds Toure who plays a neat one two with Negredo but his shot is just wide of Begovic's post. Pellegrini is urging his side on before half time. City have a corner.
After Chelsea's 1-0 win over everton at lunchtime, it gets worse for City fans as Arsenal have taken a 2-0 lead at home to Sunderland. Can City respond and keep up with their title rivals? Not like that, Toure has a draedful shot from all of 35 yards, its high, it's wide and it sure ain't pretty.
Silva drifts in from the right, plays it into the path of Dzeko who lays it off first time to Nasri. The Frenchman's shot is charged down and City have a corner.
Bit of payback by Adam on Nasri, that's classic 70s football. You hack us, we hack you. Adam intentionally lunges and catches Nasri, he gets a yellow card for his troubles and City have a free kick.
Yellow Card Charlie Adam
The free kick is poor by Adam, straight into the wall. City try and counter but Silva's pass is straight to Cameron who is able to get a touch on it. That was a great chance for Stoke.
Yellow Card Fernandinho
Crouch is fouled by Toure near the halfway line and the Potters have a free kick. What folows is amlost assault. Odemwingie receives the early free kick and is just a yard outside the box before Fernandinho flies in and hacks him down. Only a yellow card for the Brazilian, Hughes is furious.
STAT ATTACK: The Potters have the joint worst away record in the division, earning six points from their 13 fixtures. They have gone 11 away matches without a win since beating West Ham in August (D3, L8).
Silva plays a delicious ball wide to the left, Kolarov curls in a cross to the near post but Stoke, still with only ten men, manage to get it to safety. They come up the other end with Whelan who tries to slip in Arnautovic but he's flagged offside.
Small injury time out for Shawcross who is now off the field receiving treatment. City look a little slow today, perhaps feeling the strains and pains of still playing in four competitions.
Stoke have a throw on the nearside. After City's early dominance, it's now Stoke pushing Pellegrin's men back. Adam tries to release Crouch early but he puts to much on it and it runs straight through to Hart.
GREAT SAVE! Stoke are really having a good period , Crouch slips it wide to Walters who pulls it back to the egde of the box to Adam, the Scot hits it first time low and hard but Hart gets down to it and tips it round the post for a Stoke corner.
Stoke awarded another free kick, from about 30 yards out, Adam whips it into the back post and Toure nods it out for a Stoke corner. Good spell this for the Potters.
The history books don't make great reading for Stoke fans. Manchester City have won all five previous Premier League meetings at home, scoring a combined 14 goals without reply. Ominous.
Yellow Card Vincent Kompany
CHANCE! Great play by Toure who sweeps it inside to Dzeko who slips it to Zabaleta but his shot is charged down by Pieters and City have a corner. Stoke get it clear and break with Odemwingie but Kompany quite brutally takes out the Nigerian and Stoke have a free kick.
Stoke are struggling to get out of their own half, City are pressing very high. Shawcross gives it away, Silva flicks it to Toure who tries to feed Dzeko but it's over hit and Begovic calmly claims the ball.
City are very patient in their build up, just playing it from side to side until an opening presents itself. Stoke actually have 11 players behind the ball, they certainly have a game plan today. City would love an early goal here.
CLOSE! Great ball floated into the back post toward Crouch, the ex-England international nods it back to Adam who drags his shot just wide. Hart was nowhere near it.
CLOSE! Superb bit of skill by Kolarov down the left, he nutmegs Wilson and gets to the byline and delivers a great cross to the back post but no one is there to make contact. Fernandinho has just had a great effort from 20 yards over palmed over by Begovic. City getting closer.
Stoke are so deep Shawcross is literally playing on the six yard line at the moment.
City immediately pushing the Potters back and applying some early presure. Silva is popping up all over the place, a neat interchange with Nasri allows the Spaoiniard the space to croos but it's blocked and Stoke break.
City immediately pushing the Potters back and applying some early pressure. Silva is popping up all over the place, a neat interchange with Nasri allows the Spaniard the space to cross but it's blocked and Stoke break.
So a slightly different opponent for City this afternoon, compared with Barcelona trip to the Etihad on Tuesday, but that's what makes the Premier League so great. Stoke looking long to Crouch but it goes out for a goal kick.
And we're underway, Man City kick off.
The players are out on the pitch, we'll be underway shortly.
Hughes will be hoping to make the most of the inclusion of Demichelis this afternoon. But they've only won once away this season and the Etihad is hardly the best place to come to improve that record.
The Potters have played well in recent weeks and are currently unveate in three after beating Man Utd, and drawing with Southampton and Swansea. They have the potential of goals throughout their team, with Walters, Odemwingie and Charlie Adam breaking forward from midfield and Crouch up top.
Fernandinho came through the Barca game unscathed and City fans will be pleased to see him back in the side helping Toure control central midfield. Nasri has impressed this season and comes in at the expense of Navas who is a very handy player to have as a substitute.
TEAM NEWS: Man City defender Matija Nastasic is again absent with a knee problem but captain Vincent Kompany is fit to play despite picking up a knock against Barcelona in midweek. Stoke winger Oussama Assaidi could be sidelined for six weeks after damaging knee ligaments while training during the club's warm-weather break in Dubai, but loanee, John Guidetti, is ineligible to play against his parent club.
STOKE SUBS: Sorensen, Muniesa, Palacios, Wilkinson, Nzonzi, Etherington, Ireland
STOKE STARTING XI: Begovic; Pieters, Wilson, Shawcross, Cameron; Arnautovic, Whelan, Adam, Odemwingie, Walters; Crouch
MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Pantilimon, Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Milner, Navas, Jovetic
MANCHESTER CITY STARTING XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri, Silva; Dzeko, Negredo
Before we go any further, let's have a look at how both sides are lining up, starting with the home side.
But the league defeat by Chelsea and their obvious flaw in the centre of defence has eroded their aura of invincibility. Despite such an array of attacking talent they seem to miss the injured Sergio Aguero more than they would like. Most teams in the world would miss a player of his calibre, but perhaps his omission in recent weeks has shown how much they rely on his finishing and all round attacking play.
Man City will be looking to bounce back after their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night. It's the first time Manuel Pellegrini has been under pressure at Manchester City - and it's showing. The usually serene Chilean made some inappropriate remarks about the referee after their loss Tuesday but a home match against Stoke should be the perfect remedy.
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's LIVE play-by-play commentary of the Premier League meeting between the mighty Man City and lowly Stoke City here at the Etihad. My name is Greg Taylor and I'll be guiding you through all the action.
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