Match Review: Manchester City vs. Stoke City
If you’ve just watched that game you’re probably either now drinking heavily, or meditating depending on what type of person you are. That was the definition of a nervy game.
What a point however, Ryan Shawcross take a bow. For anybody questioning our defensive capabilities this season, you have officially been silenced. Marc Wilson eat your heart out.
Sky Sports 1 hosted the game, usually when we are making an appearance on TV, players feel the extra pressure and under-perform, not tonight.
Saido Berahino started his first game and put in his shift as well, Jon Walters came back from his injury starring in a new 4-4-2 system. Diouf started at right of midfield with Bardsley in for an injured Johnson.
It was always going to be a nervous game, after the Spurs thrashing Stoke players must have had nightmares and it was a potential repeat tonight. Turns out Shawcross doesn’t like nightmares.
Our captain led the Stoke team setting a fine example, inspired defending from the whole team earned a point today and it was great to see. Personally I don’t think we’ve defended that well since Tony left, it’s nice to know we still can.
Geoff Cameron made a massive difference in the midfield, Glenn Whelan dropped to the bench to make way for the new system and the new midfield pairing of Geoff Cameron and Joe Allen prevailed. Both players athletes by nature and that showed on the field today, even late in the second half Geoff Cameron was gliding down the wing, admittedly the final ball wasn’t there but that’s why he’s technically a centre back I guess.
Manchester City had just one shot on target all night, and it was a Kolarov free-kick which Lee Grant punched out for a corner, a solid save. Another chance saw Aguero attempt a curled effort which looked to be heading in to the top right corner, if it wasn’t for Erik Pieters forehead.
It wasn’t all defending however, Stoke looked dangerous on the break too, we had pace up front with Diouf on the right, Sobhi on the left and Saido and Walters up top, not many chances came our way but it gave Ryan and his defence a deserved break.
It was bold from Mark Hughes, a lot of managers wouldn’t try too many formations in one season. However Sparkey has now played four different styles, including one three at the back system and one five at the back system. What a good time to do it though, 9th position once again, not going down, not getting any higher so why not try different formations.
Our season looked to be heading for the same conclusion, 9th, and it still might, but we are making some real headway as a club. To have spent what we have and be in the position we are, around teams like Everton and Southampton, and even a few places short of a club like Manchester United we can’t be doing many things wrong.
Even Imbula made a cameo appearance, showing that he is still included in the picture at Stoke City and it was nice to see Shaqiri at the game, he’s expected to be fit for the next match.
Three-points would have been better don’t get me wrong, but if you’d given me a point before the game, especially after the Spurs performance I’d have bitten your hand off.
Ryan Shawcross showed us all today that he is still the defender of old and he is still capable of shutting out a player like Sergio Aguero.
Gareth Southgate, are you watching?
By Jordan Cleaver
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