Man City swept away by Stoke as Arnautovic and Shaqiri shine
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | December 5, 2015
Stoke City 2-0 Manchester City
- Arnautovic opens scoring early after latching onto Shaqiri cross
- Austrian links up with Swiss again to double lead soon after
- Stoke up to ninth, Man City stay top but for how long?
Early Arnautovic double downs City
On a wild and windy Saturday at the Britannia, Manchester City were without injured stars Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany again, and how they missed the giants of the game as they were swept away by a spirited Stoke City.
It was the hosts who drew blood first, with shock summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri providing the opener inside seven minutes by weaving his way past the Citizens’ defence down the right before crossing for Marko Arnautovic to finish from close range.
Man City threatened to fight back, and Kevin De Bruyne came close on the quarter hour, but a good save from Jack Butland immediately helped set up another Stoke attack with Shaqiri and Arnautovic yet again linking up for the latter to get his second.
Austrian Arnautovic has just five goals this Premier League season now, but each has been important, with two being winners against Chelsea and Aston Villa, and the other before his Britannia brace against City being in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham.
Arnautovic and Shaqiri show great chemistry
Many would expect a team to sit back after going 2-0 up against the still-Premier League favourites, but Stoke certainly did not and the former Inter Milan and Werder Bremen forward continued to be a nuisance to Man City defenders.
In the 37th minute, he came a whisker away from hitting a hat-trick, but nodded just wide of the post after a great cross out on the left by the Republic of Ireland’s Glenn Whelan.
Stoke were fantastic at both ends of the pitch in the first-half, as Butland kept his side in the game after 41 minutes by saving well at the near post with his legs from a decent Aleksandar Kolarov shot.
Arnautovic once again was handed the opportunity to score after latching onto a fine Shaqiri pass to go through on goal, but this time Joe Hart was able to distract him into slipping and hitting the post.
The wind certainly didn’t pacify after the break, but neither did Stoke’s attacking threat. Bojan Krkic this time had the chance the score after some neat trickery to beat the defender, but Hart saved well and Arnautovic was wide with the rebound.
Luck not on Man City’s side
With just over 20 minutes to go, attacking trio Bojan, Arnautovic and Shaqiri linked up yet again, but this time the Austrian turned provider and the latter was unable to get onto the final ball.
The wind and momentum was with Stoke in the second-half and, just before Spaniard Bojan was subbed off, he almost got onto the end of a fine delivery from midfield, but instead clattered into the brave Hart.
Things went from bad to worse for Manuel Pellegrini’s men moment later, as Fernando limped off injured and with no more replacements available they were down to 10 men. But who could blame the Brazilian leaving early?
To rub salt in woeful Man City’s wounds, former Citizens boss Mark Hughes had the luxury of subbing off impressive Shaqiri too with around 15 minutes to go, as his side played out the final minutes with relative ease.
Potters continue rise up table
Stoke’s triumph means they leapfrog three places into ninth (equal on points with seventh) before the rest of the matchweek 15 fixtures, while the Citizens stay top but could be fourth by the late afternoon.
Man City, meanwhile, have now won just two of their last six in the league, and are without a victory in their previous four on the road.
Check out our Premier League archive, where you’ll find other content for this weekend and more.