Shaqiri’s Whips Don’t Lie
The Swiss wonder with immeasurable calves has flattered to deceive a little so far this season but he well and truly came to the party here.
Shaqiri had just one assist prior to this game but he registered two against Man City in just 15 minutes, supplying an excellent cross and then an exquisite through ball for Arnautovic.
He was a constant menace down the Potters’ right and Alex Kolorov endured a tiresome afternoon at the hands of the former Inter man. If he can reproduce displays like this for the rest of the season then the Staffordshire side will be on course for their greatest finish in the Premier League.
City Must Learn To Deal Without Kompany
Manchester City looked woeful at the back here, and that is a real worry for Manuel Pellegrini. They have gotten into a terrible habit of trying to hold their line on the edge of the 18-yard box and that leaves them exposed to the through ball, something Shaqiri was only too happy to take advantage of.
Martin Demichellis was a shrewd signing two years ago but at 34 he looks shot and could not handle the movement of the Stoke front four.
It all boils down to the absence of Vincent Kompany. In seven Premier League games without their captain the Citizens have not kept a single clean sheet, in the eight he has played, they have registered seven shut-outs. They must find a way of coping without the Belgian.
Sparky’s Stoke Go Turbo Tiki Taka
Mark Hughes has a dream. That dream is to turn Stoke City into Barcelona, or so many will have you believe. Well if that is his intention, then he is doing a darn good job.
The Welshman went full on tiki taka for this clash, deploying Bojan as a false nine and basically bamboozling a shaky looking City back four.
The movement of the front four of Bojan, Arnautovic, Shaqiri and Affellay was wonderful as they interchanged play excellently. The ease with which they cut through the Sky Blues defence will have had Potters tongues wagging.
England’s Future Is In the Safest Of Hands
In all honesty the Stoke stopper didn’t actually have a great deal to do but what he did do he did with authority.
Butland’s crucial contribution was a save with his foot from Kolarov just before half-time. The Serbian drove a strike low to the keeper’s left and he reacted brilliantly to get a toe on to the post.
That goal would have seen City go in just one behind and completely changed the shape of the game. This was his seventh clean sheet in his last nine Premier League games. Great goalkeepers make big saves at big moments and the youngster is already showing he has what it takes to be great.
A Spineless City Cannot Win the Premier League
The league leaders before this game, Man City once again showed they cannot cope without the spine of their team, and the replacements they have are simply not up to standard.
Joe Hart returned but the lack of Vincent Kompany makes them porous at the back, the absence of Sergio Aguero makes them toothless up top, while without Yaya Toure they lack any drive from the centre of the park.
Wilfried Bony didn’t create a chance or have a shot, Fernando came off injured and Demichellis’ shortcomings have already been mentioned. If City don’t strengthen in January then injuries will rob them of a title they should win at a canter.