Stoke City were held to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium, despite having clear-cut chances to take all three points, in a game in which they dominated.
Mark Hughes selected an unchanged starting eleven, after victory away to West Ham before the international break, which probably came at the wrong time for the Potters. Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland were both named on the bench following their deadline day moves to the Potteries club. In the opposite dugout Manuel Pellegrini made six changes from the side that beat Hull 2-0 at the Etihad; David Silva was out with injury, picked up playing for Spain in Chile, but the other five changes made it seem that Pellegrini was focusing on the Plzen game on Tuesday in the Champions League. Javi Garcia replaced Joleon Lescott in the heart of the City defence, as they cope without captain Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis. Yaya Toure was the only midfielder to keep his place from the Hull victory as James Milner, Jack Rodwell and Samir Nasri replaced Jesus Navas, David Silva and Ferdinandinho. Whilst Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic were picked in favour of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko to lead the line.
The best chance of the game fell to Jonathan Walters, who failed to make a proper contact to his glancing header and failed to hit the target from four yards out after a good cross from Charlie Adam on the right hand side. The high intensity pressing game of Stoke nearly reaped the rewards after Kenwyne Jones stole possession off Samir Nasri and burst through one-on-one with Joe Hart only to hit it straight at the England number one. Man City’s best chance of the first half came just before the break when Aleksandar Kolarov curled a free-kick just over the bar.
Stoke started the second half as they finished the first and should have taken the lead following a good move started by Ryan Shawcross playing a through ball to full back Geoff Cameron who’s cross wasn’t met with a telling touch from Jonathan Walters at the near post. A couple of minutes later Charlie Adam put in a good cross into the box which was heading over the bar by Kenwyne Jones. Just after that Charlie Adam tested Hart from distance which the City stopper comfortably saved.
With 20 minutes left Mark Hughes rolled the dice and brought on Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland to make their Stoke debuts. Pellegrini had also rung the changes bringing Navas and Aguero on for Nasri and Jovetic. It was Stoke who had a chance to win the game 15 minutes from time when Arnautovic was found on the by-line and his pull back was deflected by Nastasic towards his own goal but again Hart pulled off a fabulous save to deny the Serbian’s embarrassment by saving the own goal. Towards the end of the game their was a lengthy stoppage as Robert Huth received treatment after being knocked out following a challenge from Alvaro Negredo despite the cross adjudged being swung back into play.
According to the statistics both teams had three shots on target, however Hart was stretched more than Asmir Begovic. Man City also had more possession with around 57% of the ball, but failed to make any of it count with clear-cut chances. After the game Hughes admitted he was “disappointed” not to have won the game whilst Pellegrini stated it was a “good point in a difficult week” for the Manchester club.