Tag: Man City

Premiership: Man City 2-0 West Ham

Manchester City firmed up their grip on a top-four place as they beat West Ham to secure their first win in three Premier League games.

James Collins looped an attempted clearance from a Jesus Navas cross into his own net to give City the lead.

Navas set up Sergio Aguero to slot in a second after a slick counter-attack.

With the game won, City playmaker David Silva was carried off on a stretcher after being caught in the face by Cheikhou Kouyate’s right elbow.

Silva appeared to be given oxygen as he received eight minutes of treatment prior to his departure in the 75th minute.

Before the game, City boss Manuel Pellegrini conceded he could be sacked if his team do not finish in the top four to claim a Champions League place for next season.

But while speculation about his future continues given their tame title defence, the chances of missing out on a place in Europe’s elite club competition receded with this victory.

With five matches remaining, Pellegrini’s side are seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand, and a point behind derby rivals Manchester United.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man Utd 4-2 Man City

Manchester United ended a dismal derby sequence and piled the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini as his Manchester City side were well beaten at Old Trafford.

City, attempting to recover from successive away defeats at Liverpool, Burnley and Crystal Palace, made a blistering start and took an early lead through Sergio Aguero.

It was all downhill from then on for the fading Premier League champions as Ashley Young and the revitalised Marouane Fellaini put United in front before half-time.

Louis van Gaal’s side never looked like surrendering the advantage as they secured a sixth straight Premier League win with further goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.

The victory put them four points ahead of City and firmly on course for a return to the Champions League next season.

As for City, this was the sort of capitulation that never reflects well on any manager and Liverpool could narrow the gap to Pellegrini’s side to just four points if they beat Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday.

Missing out on the Champions League is the unthinkable scenario for City and Pellegrini, who had won the previous four Manchester derbies – including three at Old Trafford – before his side declined alarmingly after a perfect start.

And to illustrate the turnaround in fortunes, it was only just over a year ago that City’s 3-0 win here effectively signalled the end of David Moyes’ United reign and put City 15 points ahead of their rivals having played two games fewer.

United are now the team that looks rejuvenated, while City are in serious need of reconstruction as the defensive frailties and fluctuating form that have characterised their season were exposed once more.

City can take solace from having four of their last six games at home but their defence of the title is in ruins and the speculation surrounding Pellegrini will continue ,especially if they miss out on the top four.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man City 3-0 West Brom

Wilfried Bony’s first goal for Manchester City helped his side on their way to a much-needed victory after Gareth McAuley was controversially sent off for West Brom.

Fernando and David Silva added further goals as City cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table to three points, at least until Jose Mourinho’s side play their two games in hand.

But the game turned on McAuley’s dismissal after just 89 seconds – the fastest in the Premier League this season – when it was unclear whether referee Neil Swarbrick had shown the red card to the wrong man.

Another Baggies defender, Craig Dawson, had committed the initial foul on Bony, who got up before running into McAuley inside the area.

Swarbrick, however, awarded City a free-kick before calling McAuley over, and proceeded to send him off despite his pleas of innocence and protests from his team-mates.

It was the second case of apparent mistaken identity in the Premier League in less than a month, following Wes Brown’s red card at Old Trafford for a foul by his Sunderland team-mate John O’Shea.

On this occasion it was debatable whether it was a sending-off at all but City, reeling from their Champions League exit against Barcelona and desperately short of domestic form, were not complaining.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Barcelona 1-0 Man City

Barcelona ease past Man City as Sergio Aguero misses penalty

Lionel Messi and Barcelona turned on the style to dump Manchester City and their inspired goalkeeper Joe Hart out of the Champions League.

It was thanks to Hart’s heroics that Barcelona could manage only a 1-0 win at the Nou Camp.

Ivan Rakitic scored the only goal of another one-sided encounter between the two sides, completing a 3-1 aggregate win to secure the Catalan giants’ place in the quarterfinals.

City did show some spirit in the second half, and could have pulled one back when Sergio Aguero had a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen — but in truth the scoreline flattered them.

Barcelona were in a different league to the English champions, and Messi was simply outstanding.

One of the enduring images from the game will be his first-half nutmeg on James Milner, who was bamboozled and left on the turf by the Argentinian’s brilliance.

It said much for City’s night that their man of the match was comfortably Hart, who made a strong of brilliant saves in the second half to limit the damage.

The loss will leave City manager Manuel Pellegrini fighting for his future, but most coaches would have struggled against Barcelona in this mood.

City’s defeat meant the end of English involvement in the Champions League, after Arsenal and Chelsea’s defeats at this stage and Liverpool’s elimination in the group round.

Pellegrini changed tactics, deploying Aguero as a lone striker, but it was to little avail.

After being well beaten in the first leg, it always seemed likely City would follow their Premier League rivals out of the competition.

And so it proved as Barcelona set about them from the outset, looking in ominous form as Dani Alves forced a Vincent Kompany error and Neymar rolled a shot against the inside of a post.

Barcelona were relentless, with Messi at his ingenious best, continually wrong-footing City with masterful control and movement.

Messi combined brilliantly with Andres Iniesta in the box, but Hart came to the visitors’ rescue with a low save from the Argentinian.

City could not keep pace with the Spanish league leaders and four of their players — Fernandinho, Aleksandar Kolarov, David Silva and Samir Nasri — were booked inside the first 36 minutes. Nasri was lucky not to see red for hacking at the ankles of Neymar.

But by then City were already a goal down after Messi picked out Rakitic in space in the box with a brilliant cross. Rakitic controlled superbly on his chest and reacted quickly to lob the advancing Hart.

City’s torture continued as Messi, who had earlier been crudely hacked down on the touchline by Kolarov, reacted with great dexterity as Milner attempted to close him down out wide.

Messi simply flicked the ball back inside, nutmegging the England international and dumping him on the turf. Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, watching in the stands, put his head in his hands in disbelief.

Barcelona almost had a second goal before the break as Luis Suarez, scorer of two in the first leg, broke clear and beat the advancing Hart only for his shot to bounce off the far post.

The one-way traffic continued as Hart saved from Iniesta, Rakitic and Jordi Alba in the opening minutes of the second half.

Pellegrini attempted to change his side’s shape, with Jesus Navas having replaced the ineffective Nasri at the interval. He pushed Toure forward, but Barcelona were not greatly troubled despite an increase in City possession.

One good opportunity did open up when Navas got to the byline, but there was no-one on hand to turn in his cross.

Barcelona had the menace to be able to kill the game at any moment, and Suarez lashed a shot into the side netting before Messi skipped past a challenge on a lightning counter-attack but was forced wide.

Alba thought he had scored a second when he snapped up a rebound after Hart blocked a Neymar shot, but offside was given.

Hart denied Neymar again on the hour and City were given a potential lifeline moments later as they broke up to the other end and Aguero fell as Gerard Pique challenged.

A penalty was awarded, but Aguero could not take advantage as Ter Stegen saved to his right.

It was not going to be City’s night, but Hart could still hold his head high, saving again from Suarez before the former Liverpool star hit the bar.

Hart saved brilliantly again from Messi in the last minute and Neymar was also frustrated by him in injury time.
 Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Burnley 1-0 Man City

George Boyd’s goal gave Burnley a famous win against Manchester City to further damage the champions’ hopes of retaining their Premier League title.

Boyd arrowed in a low half-volley after a poor headed clearance from returning City captain Vincent Kompany.

The visitors had wasted chances as Edin Dzeko had a shot saved by Tom Heaton and Sergio Aguero headed just over.

Pablo Zabaleta went to ground late on, but City’s appeals for a penalty were rejected by referee Andre Marriner.

The shock defeat means second-placed City remain five points behind leaders Chelsea, who have two matches in hand.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said on Friday the title race was already over and that his team would be celebrating in May.

City responded with a disappointing performance and a result that severely dents their hopes of winning a third title in four years.

They had only won three of their past 10 matches in all competitions before facing a Burnley side with only one victory in their previous 11 games in 2015.

But apart from a low save to deny Dzeko, and tame efforts from Aguero and Wilfried Bony that were straight at him, Burnley goalkeeper Heaton had little to do.

Kompany, dropped for City’s last match against Leicester, should have done better than head the ball into Boyd’s path from Kieran Trippier’s free kick. Nevertheless, the Scotland international produced a spectacular finish to shoot past England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Victory moves Sean Dyche’s side, Championship runners-up last season, up a position to 18th, only one point behind 17th-placed Sunderland.

City’s season, meanwhile, is in danger of falling apart. They will need to quickly regroup as they play at the Nou Camp on Wednesday looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their Champions League last-16 tie with Barcelona.

Burnley had to ride their luck late on as Aguero headed over, and Zabaleta went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Ben Mee, but referee Marriner waved away City’s calls for a penalty.

Not even the introduction of forwards Bony and Stevan Jovetic and midfielder Frank Lampard, making his 600th Premier League appearance, could see the visitors grab an equaliser as the Clarets held on for a memorable victory.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man City 2-0 Leicester

David Silva and James Milner struck late in each half as under-fire reigning champions Manchester City grabbed a scrappy but much-needed 2-0 win over Leicester in the Premier League.

Silva pounced from close range to put City ahead after an unconvincing start at the Etihad Stadium and Milner came off the bench to settle nerves in the last minute.

It was far from a fluent display from City but the result will at least take some of the heat off manager Manuel Pellegrini after a testing few days.

The hosts could justifiably claim victory was deserved after forcing veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to make several fine saves.

But the Foxes were denied three penalties – with two appeals looking particularly strong – and defeat was harsh on the hard-working bottom side.

Luck was therefore on Pellegrini’s side after the build-up to the game had been dominated by criticism of his tactics in damaging losses to Barcelona and Liverpool and speculation over his future.

The Chilean responded strongly to that by dropping captain Vincent Kompany to the bench while Samir Nasri and Fernandinho did not feature in the squad.

Edin Dzeko and Pablo Zabaleta also found themselves among the substitutes in the reshuffle, while £25million January signing Wilfried Bony was handed his first start.

The changes initially appeared to do little to fire up the side.

No spark came from the crowd either with the atmosphere subdued following the last two dispiriting results.

What flicker of life they did show in the opening stages came from Jesus Navas, who looked in the mood after being left out at Anfield on Sunday.

But it was Leicester who threatened first, with Jeff Schlupp completely wrong-footing Eliaquim Mangala on the counter-attack. Martin Demichelis came across to help out his partner.

Leicester then had their first two penalty appeals in quick succession. Schlupp was unlucky not to get a decision in his favour when it appeared he was impeded by Bony.

Andrej Kramaric then went down as he raced with Joe Hart to meet Riyad Mahrez’s superb through-ball but the England goalkeeper did get a touch before the pair collided.

Navas was berated by Yaya Toure after misplacing a pass but he was not deterred, firing in a good cross from which Bony forced Mark Schwarzer to block.

Navas then tested Schwarzer himself with a good effort from the edge of the box before Silva teed up Bony with a clever ball, only for the Ivorian to slice high and wide.

City were performing only in fits and starts but they seized the advantage on the stroke of half-time as Aleksandar Kolarov crossed from the left. Bony was unable to take advantage but Silva pounced, tapping in from close range after his initial effort was partially blocked by Wes Morgan.

Bony made an even bigger mess of a chance early in the second half, racing into the perfect position to meet Navas’ pull-back but completely miscuing and hitting the corner flag.

Leicester were again unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Fernando brought Kramaric down, but referee Robert Madley ruled the offence just outside the area. Replays suggested it may have been just inside and Kramaric was denied again as his free-kick was deflected agonisingly wide.

City wanted to kill off the game but Schwarzer kept the Foxes in it with a fine save to keep out a Sergio Aguero header and did even better to claw away a long-range Toure strike.

The hosts had a let-off when Mahrez got away a shot and a slight deflection took it past Hart and onto the post but City responded with Toure and Kolarov going close.

Bony’s frustrating debut had been brought to an end after 72 minutes and his replacement, Milner, did finally end the contest when he turned in a Navas cross in the closing moments.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Liverpool 2-1 Man City

Liverpool put a huge dent in Manchester City’s title hopes with a 2-1 victory which dramatically enhanced their own hopes of a top-four finish.

Chelsea’s involvement in the Capital One Cup final had given Manuel Pellegrini’s side a chance to reduce the gap at the top to two points but, as was the case last season, they were cut down at Anfield.

Eleven months ago defeat here did not prove their undoing in the title race as Chelsea did them a favour by winning at Anfield.

This time it was Liverpool doing Chelsea favours — not something their fans would usually celebrate but on this occasion their club’s needs come first, and with the championship beyond their means, the race for Champions League qualification takes priority.

Jordan Henderson’s brilliant opener was matched by an equally good team goal from Edin Dzeko but Philippe Coutinho’s 75th-minute winner eclipsed them all.

Anfield is a bad ground for City, who have now not won here in 12 league matches, yet it was supposed to be their hosts who were mourning a Europa League exit to Besiktas on penalties on Thursday.

City reverted to the team which thrashed Newcastle 5-0 last weekend after losing to Barcelona in midweek but it was the home side, registering four changes — most significantly returning playmaker Coutinho — from the defeat to Besiktas, who got off to a flier.

Coutinho, who twice set up Adam Lallana to first shoot weakly at Joe Hart and then brilliantly finish from a narrow angle only to be judged marginally offside, was the instigator.

Pressing hard he robbed Vincent Kompany and rode a challenge from the City captain before laying off to Raheem Sterling, who gave Kompany a torrid time in the first half, and he teed up Henderson to curl a beauty over Hart and into the top corner in the 11th minute.

Immediately the intensity went up a notch, with Sergio Aguero breaking free of Skrtel and beating Simon Mignolet but not the far post with a left-footed shot.

It was end-to-end stuff, with the creative Coutinho and equally mercurial David Silva running the show for their respective sides, although an honourable mention should go to the pint-sized Joe Allen, who was a giant in midfield against players of huge size and even bigger reputations.

The former’s ball with the outside of his right foot sent Sterling racing down the left wing, but although he easily jinked past Eliaquim Mangala, City’s 32 million-pound summer signing, his cross rolled through the six-yard area with no-one to knock it in.

Silva was increasingly finding space in front of Liverpool’s back four, the area where he is most dangerous, and from there he crafted City’s 25th-minute equaliser.

The Spain international picked out Aguero, whose sublime ball to Dzeko was deservedly rewarded with a goal as the Bosnian slotted past Mignolet for his 50th Premier League goal.

From then on the game became even more open and entertaining, something of a rarity for a noon kick-off on a Sunday.

Both defences looked to be the weakest links, with Mangala equally out of touch as Kompany while Dejan Lovren’s presence in the back three, after his penalty shoot-out miss in Istanbul cost his side Europa League progress, seemed to cause as much indecision in Liverpool’s ranks as it did consternation in the stands.

The ripple of applause he received for holding off or, depending on your persuasion, pushing over Pablo Zabaleta in the box just before half-time seemed more in relief than appreciation.

Attacks continued, with Aguero heading over 20 seconds into the second half and Sterling bundling wide a Lallana cross, but the quality level dropped somewhat.

In an instant it was raised again, in the 75th minute, when Coutinho cut in from the left, dropped his shoulder and unleashed an arcing shot which dipped over the outstretched fingertips of Hart.

Once again going behind sparked City to go to another gear and, having sent on striker Wilfried Bony for Fernandinho, Aguero’s angled shot whistled just past the far post after Lovren had lunged in.

A frenzied final 10 minutes saw Coutinho have another shot deflected over, Bony escape with a yellow card after appearing to lead with an elbow on Lallana, substitute Daniel Sturridge roll a shot wide with only Hart to beat and Silva flash a shot just off target with the seconds ticking down.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Man City 1-2 Barcelona

Luis Suarez marked his first return to England since a £75m summer move to Barcelona with two goals that leave Manchester City on the brink of a Champions League exit.

The former Liverpool striker demonstrated the quality the Premier League has been missing – and which defenders have been spared – with two strikes in the opening half-hour to put Barcelona in command of this last-16 first-leg tie.

City improved after the break and were rewarded with Sergio Aguero’s strike but their growing momentum was halted when Gael Clichy was sent off for a second yellow card.

And even though they still face a mountainous task at the Nou Camp in the second leg on 18 March – they need to score at least twice to have a chance of progressing – they were spared an even tougher job after keeper Joe Hart saved Lionel Messi’s penalty from virtually the final kick of the game.

Uruguay international Suarez preyed on the uncertainty of City captain Vincent Kompany throughout and with Messi the orchestrator, Luis Enrique’s side tormented the Premier League champions in the first half.

Suarez ended this summer’s World Cup in Brazil in disgrace after bitingItaly’s Giorgio Chiellini but it was not enough to dissuade Barcelona fromtaking him from Liverpool to La Liga and this was an illustration of exactly why, the movement and menace a familiar sight to those who had watched him terrorise opponents in the Premier League.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini will take some heart from the manner in which they created chances in the second half but in reality Barcelona are now overwhelming favourites to progress as they took advantage of the timidity of an opposition, without suspended midfield talisman Yaya Toure, who showed them far too much respect in the first 45 minutes.

Aguero’s goal and Hart’s save offer a lifeline but it is flimsy at best and City will need to produce a special performance in Catalonia to reach the quarter-finals.

Suarez, so often cast in the role of the Premier League’s villain during his time at Anfield, was jeered when his name was read out before kick-off – but he soon turned the taunts back on his tormentors as Barcelona produced an imperious first half display.

He had already threatened before he put Barcelona ahead after 13 minutes, reacting quickly to fire a low, angled finish past Hart after Messi’s cross had rebounded off Kompany.

City’s lame approach was in contrast to Pellegrini’s claim that they would attack Barcelona and they were lucky not to fall further behind when a brilliant pass from Messi released Suarez in behind Kompany but Hart rescued City with a crucial block at the striker’s feet.

Barcelona only ever seemed a moment away from another goal – and so it proved when Suarez pounced for his second on the half-hour, showing great instincts to turn Jordi Alba’s cross at the near post.

Dani Alves sent a glancing effort off the bar before an agonising first half drew to a close for City and supporters who had suffered in silence for long periods as Barcelona went through their party pieces.

City, as they had to do, showed some attacking ambition after the restart and should have pulled a goal back when the unmarked Edin Dzeko headed straight at keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen from only six yards out.

Aguero, so industrious despite barely having any service worthy of the name, was then only inches off target as City finally looked capable of posing Barcelona problems.

The goal City had threatened finally arrived with 21 minutes remaining, Aguero taking an inventive David Silva backheel in his stride before beating Ter Stegen.

Suddenly there was hope for City, although some of that was extinguished as Clichy was sent off four minutes later after receiving a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Alves.

Messi had the chance to heap further punishment on City when he was fouled in the area by Pablo Zabaleta in the closing moments but Hart blocked his spot-kick and the Argentine headed wide of an open goal.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man City 5-0 Newcastle

Manchester City warmed up for Tuesday’s visit of Barcelona in style by crushing Newcastle 5-0 on a perfect day for the Barclays Premier League champions.

City led from the second minute as they cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table to five points by demolishing the Magpies at the Etihad Stadium.

Top scorer Sergio Aguero opened the scoring with a penalty before Samir Nasri and the impressive Edin Dzeko added to the lead inside 21 minutes. David Silva made the scoreline even more lopsided with a rapid double early in the second half.

New signing Wilfried Bony did not get on the scoresheet after coming off the bench for the final 30 minutes but, even before kicking a ball, it seemed he had started paying back his B£25million fee.

His mere presence in the squad – finally available after the African Nations Cup – appeared to sharpen Dzeko, whose goal was his first since September.

The return of Yaya Toure, following his tournament success alongside Bony for Ivory Coast, could also not be understated as City gained complete control of the midfield area.

Toure is suspended as City return to Champions League action this week, but they could not go into a clash against Barcelona in better heart.

They needed just 20 seconds to assert their authority as Vurnon Anita gifted possession to Dzeko in the box and then clumsily brought the Bosnian down.

It was just the start of a highly impressive performance from Dzeko, although it was Aguero who tucked away the penalty for his 22nd goal of the season.

Newcastle initially responded well to the setback and Daryl Janmaat sent a fierce effort narrowly wide with Joe Hart apparently beaten.

But that was about as good as it got for Newcastle as City strode through the visitors’ defence to double their lead after 12 minutes.

Dzeko was the provider, cutting inside from the left and passing inside to Nasri, albeit with a slight deflection. Nasri took the ball in his stride and casually wrong-footed two defenders before scooping the ball into the roof of the net.

Dzeko continued to stretch the Newcastle defence and got the goal his early excellence deserved when a well-timed run behind the defence was spotted by Silva. The Spaniard picked him out with a superb crossfield pass and the Bosnian chested down before clipping home on the half-volley.

By now City were in complete control and they eased off the throttle to coast towards the interval.

Newcastle hardly made an impression and City might have had another before the break as Fernandinho struck a long-range shot straight at Tim Krul, after more good work from Dzeko.

The Magpies had a rare good chance early in the second half as Papiss Cisse met Moussa Sissoko’s fine chipped cross with a powerful volley that deflected off Vincent Kompany, but Hart was alert.

That was enough to stir City back into life and they further increased their lead with two Silva goals in the space of three minutes.

Aguero broke from deep to create the opening for the first, with Silva finishing by digging out Nasri’s pass inside and tucking home.

The Spaniard had another moments later, this time racing on to an Aguero knock-down from a Toure pass and rifling in from distance.

That quickfire double put the game beyond any doubt and Manuel Pellegrini, with Tuesday in mind, decided to take star duo Silva and Aguero off after an hour.

That meant a 30-minute run-out for Bony, and he might have had a debut goal but for a fine save from Krul after racing on to a Toure pass.

Dzeko also extended Krul and the goalkeeper kept out a well-struck free-kick from Aleksandar Kolarov as City, despite easing off in the latter stages, continued to dominate.

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Premiership: Stoke 1-4 Man City

Sergio Aguero and Manchester City rediscovered their touch as the champions turned on the style in the second half to win 4-1 at Stoke.

Aguero struck twice as City won for the first time in five Barclays Premier League games to keep some pressure on Chelsea at the top of the table.

Aguero’s first strike in six games since returning from injury was cancelled out by Peter Crouch before the break but he grabbed a second from the penalty spot after James Milner had put City back ahead. Samir Nasri claimed the fourth with a fine strike 14 minutes from time.

The first half was a compelling affair but both sides might have had more than a goal apiece after efforts were ruled out at each end.

Crouch was first denied by an offside flag and Aguero had what would then have been his second chalked off in confusing circumstances on the stroke of half-time.

Handball was the offence, although it was only the faintest of touches and possibly not deliberate.

But City reacted well to the controversy and finally showed some champion quality after a disappointing few weeks by running in three second-half goals.

City ended as the dominant force but Stoke had a large say in the early proceedings.

City did have an early chance but Aguero scuffed a shot when he might have been better leaving it to Fernandinho.

After that Stoke looked the more confident for a prolonged spell with the lively Victor Moses troubling Joe Hart with a well-struck shot.

Crouch, back in the Potters’ starting line-up after a late leveller at Newcastle on Sunday, got his head to the resulting corner but Milner cleared off the line. There were appeals for handball against Milner but referee Lee Mason gave nothing.

Crouch thought he had scored when he pounced on a rebound after Hart parried a Moses effort but the flag was raised.

City survived another scare as Hart beat away a strong effort from Steven Nzonzi and Moses smashed the rebound inches wide.

They were chances Stoke looked likely to rue missing as City seized the lead following a moment of Aguero brilliance in the 33rd minute.

The Argentinian seized on a long clearance and ran at Marc Muniesa and finished with a superb low shot across goal.

But City had not yet weathered the storm and Stoke replied immediately.

Marko Arnautovic curled in a wicked cross from the right and Crouch ducked as he slid in to expertly guide home a firm header.

City thought they had reclaimed the lead just before the interval but controversy erupted as Mason denied Aguero.

Stoke were caught flat-footed as Fernandinho picked out Silva with a lofted ball and the Spaniard turned the ball across goal for Aguero.

Aguero appeared to have an easy tap-in but the ball deflected off a defender and he had to readjust to use his head. After doing so the ball brushed his hand on the way in.

Mason initially seemed to give the goal but Stoke’s players protested and it eventually became apparent the referee agreed something untoward had occurred. It may have been that Aguero had cunningly used his hand but replays suggested that would be a harsh interpretation.

If City felt wronged, they soon put it right. Milner made no mistake with his head as he rose to meet a Nasri cross 10 minutes into the second half.

Milner, whose future beyond the end of the season remains uncertain as contract talks continue, celebrated by mimicking the action of a DJ in front City fans.

Whatever that meant, City appeared to be getting back into their groove.

They went further ahead after 70 minutes as Silva proved too tricky for Geoff Cameron and was pulled down. Aguero clinically dispatched the spot-kick.

Nasri made victory certain six minutes later as he drove at the Stoke defence, checked inside on the edge of the area and fired a shot across goal and in at the far post.

Stoke were beaten although Mame Biram Diouf did threaten on the break and might have had a free-kick after tangling with Eliaquim Mangala – who could have been sent off – but Mason ruled contact accidental.

Read more at ESPN