The possession and passing roughly follow the season-long trend, with the possession increased considerably and you can partly see why with Stoke's passing average. At 66% it is way below par on any level, let alone Premiership standard.
Unlike recent games where City were creating an abundance of chances, 'only' 16 shots were taken compared to the average of nearly 19 through the season and. It is also below the 18 City generally create away from home. This is still higher than any other team in the league but due to City's lack of incision they are often being taken in front or in the middle of a packed defence. Something that needs to change, and has been mentioned numerous times over the season.
Something that I find a little frustrating from watching the game and is shown in these figures is that very few players were willing to run with the ball. Even Stoke, who aren't exactly known for their incisive runs notched up more than double that of City.
Several opportunities to break away on a counter attack were once again dismissed and instead City worked the ball slowly up the pitch while Stoke got back in numbers.
As with previous games, you can see just how involved the full-backs are. Zabaleta (6) and Clichy (5) put in more tackles than anyone else on the pitch. Neither one of them can be pulled up about their defensive duties. Zabaleta also pulled off a fantastic goal line clearance in the first half.
What is encouraging is that almost every outfield player were willing to stick a foot into a tackle and that is a large contributing factor in how much possession City ended up with. The only outfield player who was on the pitch any length of time who didn't make any tackles is Kolo Toure.
Richards, again filling in at centre-back had another good game and made more clearances (15) and effective clearances (11) than anyone else on the pitch, also winning 3 aerial duels during game. Only Crouch (5) won more 50/50s than him.
As far as the conceded goal is concerned I don't think any player can too upset about it. Fans on the other hand will point to yet another foul on Barry in the build up to the goal. It was a speculative shot that came off good and proper and I doubt he could recreate that too many times in training let alone in the middle of a match. I certainly don't think he will be scoring another like that again in his career.
Tckl = tackles won, Int = interceptions, Clr = total clearances, Eclr = effective clearances, Foul = fouls committed, BS = blocked shots, AD = aerial duels
When Balotelli was left out of the Italy squad for their friendly against the USA, it looked as though he was going to storm the rest of the season in an effort to be included in the Euros in the summer. That seems to have evaporated after a couple of games as he was subbed at half time against Chelsea and didn't have a particularly good game against Stoke either. Compared to his 8 shots against Swansea and Bolton, he has only managed 4 shots in his last 135 minutes of play.
The majority of his close control during the 90 minutes against Stoke, apart from a little jink to the left to take it past 2 defenders, was pretty poor and can be seen by the number of turnovers (5).
The way Stoke were permitted to play didn't help though, and Balotelli seemed to get more than his fare share of knocks which can also be partially seen by the 4 times he was fouled, and was even pulled back by his face at one point. The number of fouls could have easily doubled had Howard Webb not had a stinker of a game for the most part.
Like the goal conceded, City's solitary goal came from a pretty tasty strike too. It did take a slight deflection that helped it but it was a great strike non the less. I'll admit though, with Yaya's shooting being rather wayward for most of the season the words "Oh ffs don't shoot from there" left my lips as he walloped it. I'll gladly be wrong on every occasion if it means the ball hits the back of the net like that.
Shot = total shots, SoT = shots on target, Drb = successful dribbles, Foul = times player was fouled, Dis = times player was dispossessed, Trn = turnovers committed, Tch = total touches of the ball
As you might expect when you face a team who defends narrowly and in numbers, through balls will have limited success. Out of the 8 attempted, only 2 were successful and neither resulted in a goal.
Nasri finally appears to be growing into the team as Silva appears to be succumbing to fatigue. Nasri has had a higher passing % all season but he is now creating more chances than he first was and created 4 during the game against Stoke with old Arsenal teammate next in line with 3.
Nasri also fired in more crosses (9) but only 1/3 of them were accurate. With James Milner
A notable feature is Hart's distribution. Hoofing the ball up field against a team as big as Stoke was never going to bring much measure of success and I don't think 43% is much measure of success.
Whilst on the subject of pass success rate, Dzeko once again comes bottom of the list for outfield players, although it is still better than 6 of Stoke's on the day. He is actually ranked 246th out of 284 players for his passing throughout the season. That's 102 places behind the next City player, Balotelli, and is comparable to forwards Grant Holt and Jay Bothroyd.
It's certainly something that many fans find frustrating about him despite the effort he undoubtedly puts in. It's a good job he's scored a few goals throughout the season.
Ass. = assists, Pass = total completed passes, KP = key passes, P% = pass success rate, C = crosses attempted, AC = accurate crosses, LB = long balls attempted, ALB = accurate long balls, TB = through balls attempted, ATB = accurate through balls
As I mentioned earlier, Chelsea, Liverpool, United and Spurs had all travelled to the Britannia and failed to pick up 3 points. There appears to be a general consensus, even from several neutrals, that Howard Webb was far too lenient towards Stoke and had a fairly poor game throughout, missing incidents on both sides.
Although it should be viewed as a point gained, it's still difficult to stomach when the team you saw tear apart sides with ease are now looking devoid of ideas. On the upside though, City still in the same position as they were before kick off; Win the remaining games and they win the Premier League.
Twitter: @MikeWalshMCFC or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
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