Manchester City v Stoke City: Man for man marking


Manchester City

Joe Hart 6/10

The England man might have been expecting a bombardment from throw-ins, corners and free-kicks but spent one of the quietest 90 minutes of his season as Stoke's much-feared aerial threat failed to materialise.



Micah Richards 7/10

With Matthew Etherington clearly not fit, the City right-back found plenty of opportunity to storm forward and support his attack. Sadly, delivery was not always out of the top drawer.



Vincent Kompany 7/10

Solid centre-back partnership with Lescott in open play and dealt with the head-seeking missiles from Rory Delap's long throw-ins with ease. Got the better of Kenwyne Jones but was perhaps lucky to get away with a handball on the edge of his own penalty area.



Joleon Lescott 7/10

Quick across the ground and made crisp interceptions, battled well in the air with Stoke's big men in a quietly firm and effective performance.



Aleksandar Kolarov 7/10

Charged with the task of keeping a tight rein on Stoke right winger Jermaine Pennant, Serbian Kolarov was impressive, repeatedly pushing the winger on to the back foot as he joined the City attack with energy. But the final delivery should have been more precise.

Nigel de Jong 7/10

City's holding midfielder comfortably shielded the Blues' back four, won the ball consistently and set the more creative players free, keeping up City's positive momentum.



Yaya Toure 7/10

A couple of typical driving runs through the centre had set alarm bells ringing and he was on hand to power in the only goal as Thomas Sorensen was at last beaten.

Gareth Barry 6/10

A foil for De Jong, the England midfielder had a relatively quiet match in a midfield dominated by De Jong and Touré. Was solid enough, but was also the first City man substituted.



David Silva 7/10

As fast and clever as ever and combined well with Tevez, roaming across midfield with freedom. Faded a little in a second half during which he was too slow to get in a shot after following Tevez in a speedy break.



Carlos Tevez 7/10

Declared fit to play what could be his final City match, the Argentinian forward looked as fresh as on the first day of the season, and was as tireless as ever. Unlucky to see two shots well saved but also set up opportunities for Silva and Balotelli.



Mario Balotelli 7/10

Possibly his best match for City, certainly one in which his hard work and all-round play for the team was most conspicuous. Recovered from an elbow in the mouth to be a persistent annoyance to Stoke's back four with his strength and pace.

Substitutes:

Adam Johnson on for Gareth Barry after 73 min

Pablo Zabaleta on for Tevez after 87 min

Patrick Vieira on for Silva after 90 min

Stoke City

Thomas Sorensen 8/10

The Potters' best player on the day had already saved well from Tevez inside the first five minutes when Touré set up Balotelli's shot which Sorensen, touched wide, his very best save of a busy first half. Another, from Kompany's shot, was grabbed at the second attempt. Had fewer direct saves to make in the second half but could do nothing about Toure's goal.



Andy Wilkinson 5/10

Had a very difficult time as Tevez and Silva drifted out to test Stoke's right flank and Kolarov launched assaults from City's back four. Lost cool in the final minutes with a crude kick at Balotelli for which he was booked.

Robert Huth 5/10

One of two key Stoke players passed fit, the centre-back was obviously less than fully mobile after a knee injury and extremely fortunate to stay on the pitch after elbowing Balotelli in the face as a City attack built. Found little luck at Stoke set-pieces as City dominated.



Ryan Shawcross 6/10

The captain finished a strong season with a hard-working performance. The best of Stoke's back four, but no match for the guile of Silva, trickery of Tevez or strength of Balotelli. Also unable to make the most of Stoke's set-pieces.



Marc Wilson 5/10

As with his full-back partner, the Potters' left-back had no winger to mark, with Tevez and Silva drifting into his orbit on Stoke's left.



Jermaine Pennant 6/10

The right winger could not give his fine season the climax it deserved because he was too often too busy helping in defence. Twisting his ankle slowed him.



Rory Delap 5/10

The Potters' best-known weapon was rendered ineffective as Stoke's set-pieces became set puddings so well did City defend them, and so lacking in threat were throw-ins and free-kicks.



Glenn Whelan 5/10

Worked hard but spent most of the afternoon chasing shadows as City's midfield took charge from the start.

Matthew Etherington 5/10

Overcame his hamstring injury to start, but never looked properly fit and made little impression.



Jonathan Walters 5/10

Never got close enough to Jones to form a dangerous strike partnership.



Kenwyne Jones 5/10

A physical handful but had very few chances to use his height or speed.

Substitutes:

Dean Whitehead on for Etherington after 62 min

John Carew on for Delap after 80 min

Danny Pugh on for Whelan after 84 min

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