Manchester City back to winning ways against Stoke City

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Manchester City finally ended a four-game winless run thanks to an impressive 4-1 victory over Stoke City.

Manuel Pellegrini's side hadn't won a league game since New Year's Day but put put in a much improved performance to claim a first Premier League win at the Britannia Stadium.

The victory helped City become only the ninth team in history to take 1000 Premier League points, but it couldn't move them any closer to league leaders Chelsea, who struck late to beat Everton at Stamford Bridge.


That means City remain seven points behind Jose Mourinho's team, but Wednesday's display, and the return to form of Sergio Aguero, will give them renewed hope of retaining their Premier League crown.

Following the weekend draw with Hull it looked like City's title hopes were fading, but they produced a signal of intent with a convincing win against Mark Hughes' Stoke.

Perhaps the most positive news for City was Aguero's two goals. The Argentine hadn't found the net since December 3 and had struggled for form since returning from injury last month.

James Milner and Samir Nasri also found the net for the Premier League champions, after Peter Crouch had earlier got Stoke back on terms shortly after Aguero's first half opener.

Back in the goals

City's poor run of form had been caused largely by a profligacy in front of goal that had seen them net just twice in their last four games.

After the 1-1 draw with Hull Pellegrini accused his team of running out of ideas, but he was delighted by City's improved performance, and the way they broke down the Stoke defence.

The Potters had been somewhat of a bogey-team for City, and Pellegrini told BBC Sport: "We returned to our normal performance, especially in the second half. We scored three goals in the second half and had more chances.

"It is important, not just the score, but also because it is not easy to score four goals at Stoke. They have been the difficult team for us to score against while I have been here.

"It is a tough place to come. The most important thing was to win and in the way we did today."

City scare

Despite the scoreline, this was no easy win for City, who survived an early scare after Milner was lucky not to be sent off.

The midfielder used his hand to stop a Crouch header on the goal-line but the incident was somehow missed by the officials, much to City's relief.

When the opening goal did come, Milner was again heavily involved. Looking to clear the danger from a Stoke corner he punted a long ball forward.

Aguero somehow got on the end of it and with only one defender left to beat he decided to shoot early - drilling a low shot past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Just five minutes later and City were finally made to pay for allowing Crouch the freedom of the penalty area when the former England striker stooped to head in a Marko Arnautovic cross.

There was still time for more hand-ball controversy before half time, with Aguero seemingly heading in a loose ball from within the six yard box only to see the linesman with his flag up.

On closer inspection the Argentine striker had used his hand, rather than his head, to force the ball over the line, bringing back memories of legendary countryman Diego Maradona.

Second half dominance

After a nervy first half, it took City just ten second half minutes to get themselves ahead again, with Milner scoring in successive games after a 36-league game drought.

When Nasri made his way to the byline he looked up to see an onrushing Milner, and the Frenchman's clipped cross was perfect for the England man to head home.

City's third came courtesy of an Aguero penalty after Silva bamboozled defender Geoff Cameron into bringing him down.

Pellegrini's men weren't content with three and added a fourth just six minutes later.

This time provider turned scorer as Nasri cut in from the left to beat Begovic with a curling effort to put the seal on a good night's work for Manchester City.

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James Milner
Manchester City
Stoke City
Sergio Aguero
Premier League
Samir Nasri

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