For match photos, scroll to Photostream above left. For match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below with links topress conference videos
Stoke City and Manchester City both left the Britannia Stadium frustrated as they battled out a 0-0 draw in the Barclays Premier League.
The hosts had the better of the chances but their finishing lacked accuracy. Kenwyne Jones was guilty of missing three good opportunities, and when he did manage to get an effort on target, he found Joe Hart in good form. Manchester City struggled to get going throughout the match and, despite introducing Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas after the break, failed to test properly Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.
Manuel Pellegrini made six changes from the side who beat Hull City before the international break, with Stevan Jovetic starting for the first time, the Montenegrin lining up in support of Alvaro Negredo in attack. The hosts were unchanged from their away victory at West Ham United, meaning Jones was again preferred as the lone striker ahead of Peter Crouch.
Manchester City had a lot of the early possession but looked disjointed in attack and were nearly punished by Jonathan Walters after 13 minutes. The Ireland forward escaped the attentions of Matija Nastasic to meet a Charlie Adam cross, but could only head wide from five yards.
Stoke were spending a lot of time without the ball but were still creating the better chances in front of goal, and Jones could have opened the scoring after half an hour. The forward robbed Samir Nasri inside his own half but fired straight at Hart, who saved well with his legs. Adam then had Stoke’s third good opportunity in the closing stages of the half, but the former Liverpool man chose to hit a long-range effort that Hart held onto easily rather than play in a team-mate. The visitors’ best chance came shortly after, when Aleksandar Kolorov sent a free-kick well over the bar after Robert Huth had fouled Jovetic.
A scrappy start to the second half saw both sides struggling to get control of the game, but Stoke continued to spurn good opportunities. Adam was involved again with a perfect cross from the left wing that Jones could have buried. The striker drifted off the back of Nastasic to meet the floated delivery inside the six yard box but failed to test Hart as he headed over.
Manchester City found it tough to break down the well-organised Stoke defence, and Jovetic had their first chance of the second half just before the hour but he could only nod wide. Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the remaining 10 minutes and were forced to settle for their fifth successive Premier League draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: “The story of the game was that we were quite comfortable. We restricted [Manchester] City to bits and pieces in front of us but they never really penetrated us. When we were more progressive and upped our tempo we created some good opportunities.
"We just lacked that final ball or that appreciation of what was required at that key moment and weren't able to capitalise. As the season goes on we will continue to improve. I have a really strong group mentally and they really want to progress. Hopefully I can give them the platform to express themselves."
"We are disappointed that we haven't beaten Man City who made a statement of intent over the summer. But we made them look quite ordinary today. In terms of chances and general play we were always looking positive. It was just a shame we didn't take our chances. Box to box we were excellent but we needed that killer instinct. The lads are playing exceptionally well and we are enjoying what they are producing.
"We are still very early in terms of how we want to play but we have players who want to get the ball down and pass and they do the ugly side as well. We have a good group who understand the game. We are trying to get the balance right. When we get the opportunity I want to get the ball down and play. I am not asking them to do anything they are not capable of. I want them to be a little bit more expansive and I think we will get better as the season goes on."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "Disappointed with the performance? No. But I agree that we didn’t have many chances to score, but when you play away and cannot win you must at least not lose and I think that’s important for us.
"I have trust in the squad, I don't think that we didn’t play well because we made changes. Stoke also had a very good match and that's why we couldn't have a clear chance to score. I don’t think you must expect us to win every match, of course we want to but it's impossible to do it. I will not always be happy to draw away but for this match it is a good draw."
"I always trust in Joe Hart. I have never had doubts about him. For him it's very important to have a clean sheet again. The last four games, that’s always important for a goalkeeper and I'm sure Joe will continue doing the work we know he can do."
"We'll see tomorrow and Monday if Vincent [Kompany] can play next Tuesday in the Champions League. But sure he will arrive to the [Manchester] derby [next week]."
|21 Dec 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|
|22 Feb 2014||v Man City (A)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Everton (H)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|29 Mar 2014||v Hull (H)|
|01 Feb 2014||v Man Utd (H)|