Mark Hughes got the better of his former employers at a windy Britannia Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
The Welshman made four changes from his team that beat Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.Embed from Getty Images
Captain Ryan Shawcross returned with Glenn Whelan, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan returned to the starting eleven.
An interesting team selection with no out-and-out forward picked by Hughes but it didn’t take long to see why he chose this team.
Inside seven minutes Shaqiri was able to shrug off the attentions of Fernando before crossing low along the six-yard box to give Marko Arnautovic the simplest of finishes.Embed from Getty Images
The side that top of the table were rocking, struggling to deal with the fluent tempo of Stoke’s passing.
The Citizens fell even further behind when Shaqiri turned inside the Man City half before playing an inch perfect through ball to Arnautovic.
The Austrian international slide the ball past Joe Hart to double the Potters advantage with only 15 minutes on the clock.
It could have been worse for Manuel Pellegrini’s men. Arnautovic headed a Whelan cross narrowly wide and then he struck the post just before the break when one-on-one with Hart.
Stoke took their foot of the gas in the second half but still carried plenty of threat.
Pellegrini made a double substitution with Kelechi Iheancho and Fabian Delph replacing Wilfried Bony and Fernandinho.
Arnautovic was once again sent clear but only found Hart in the way to a chorus of “England’s number two” from the Boothen End.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester City looked desperate at the back yet had to try and force the issue, so on came Jesus Navas in place of David Silva.
That played into Stoke’s hands and Hart had to rush off his line to deny Bojan.
Things got worse for City, if not the scoreline. Having used all three subs Fernando limped off injured forcing them to see out the game with ten-men.
Delph tried to force the issue but shoot wickedly into the stands before he then could only muster a miss-hit into the arms of Butland.
Pellegrini and his City team would have been happy to hear Martin Atkinson’s full-time whistle as they fell to their fourth defeat of the campaign.Embed from Getty Images
Stoke City: Butland, Johnson, Wollscheid, Shawcross, Pieters, Cameron, Whelan, Arnautovic, Afellay, Shaqiri, Bojan.
Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernando, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Bony.
Referee: Martin Atkinson