MANCHESTER CITY 3 STOKE CITY FC 0
After Saturday's fixture against Southampton Tony Pulis described this match as a ' bonus game'.I took that to mean that he was not expecting to come away from The Etihad with anything, but if we did he would regard it as a bonus.Given that we have yet to take any points at this stadium,you could understand his thinking.Go for broke (and get hammered) will never be part of his thinking.So we set up to defend....in depth.
For 43 minutes the strategy worked,albeit with one or two narrow scrapes. Begovic enjoyed one of his busier games in recent times.He pulled off some excellent saves,was beaten only once (but the post intervened) before Zabaleta netted the opener. Begovic got a foot to Milner's low cross,but the ball came out to the full back who made no mistake with his finish.One way traffic for the most part,with Stoke's stubborn defence finally undone.
The second half brought more of the same.Man City's second goal was inspired by the livewire Aguero. The argentinian striker received a short freekick from the right on the edge of our box,gave Whelan the slip,nutmegging Huth with his shot. Begovic made the save but unfortunately left Djecko with a tap in.
With the score at 2 - 0 a corner from the left was headed on by Jerome, reaching Walters unmarked in the six yard box but he was was unable to take the sharp chance The third goal had touch of good fortune for the home side. N'Zonzi tripped Silva outside our penalty box,but referee Oliver decided that he was inside,and awarded a penalty. Begovic got hands to Aguero's shot but could not prevent the goal.
Hart had only one decent save to make all afternoon.Right at the end he fingertipped a 30 yard Whelan piledriver shot onto the post ,and away for a corner.
Perhaps next year will deliver our bonus.
PS The word BONUS creates confusion for me nowadays. If Demba Ba LEAVES Newcastle United he gets a £2m LOYALTY bonus. Que?
Bankers make serious LOSSES playing with our money, and they are entitled to BONUS payments.............. for FAILING. Que?