<—END OF LOAD TAG—>
 

Stoke 1 Man City 0: Dire City can't be saved by superheroes

02 February 2009 02:50
At one stage during the latest public humiliation that seems to have become synonymous with Manchester City,

two men dressed as Batman and Superman appeared on a hill behind the scoreboard at Stoke's

Britannia Stadium.

Even with the help of a couple of superheroes - and let's face it, if anyone can pull off that kind of signing it's the men from Abu Dhabi - it is not hard to imagine them tripping over their capes and falling flat on their faces, such is the sorry state of a club who never fail to disappoint regardless of who is wearing the blue shirt.

Roque Santa Cruz and Shay Given hardly fall into the caped crusader category but if evidence was needed that City remain painfully short of the finished article, it was here in abundance for their watching chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarek.

Match winner: Stoke's James Beattie headed the only goal of the game to heap more pressure on Man City boss Mark Hughes

Quite what he will report back to Sheikh Mansour after seeing his club humbled by a team assembled for a fraction of the millions made available to Mark Hughes, and reduced to 10 men for more than half the game, would make interesting listening.

A target man of Santa Cruz's stature is an absolute must, with the City boss acknowledging his players' reluctance to cross the ball to a diminutive strike-force of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Robinho and Craig Bellamy as they failed pitifully to breach Stoke's defensive wall after James Beattie had put the 10 men ahead on the stroke of half-time. Chelsea 'set to snap up' miserable Man City star Robinho by flogging Drogba

Ben Haim to join Sunderland on loan after being told he has no future at Manchester City

Matthew Etherington: 'Addiction will always be a part of my life'

ALL THE STOKE FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB

ALL THE MAN CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB



Blackburn can expect a fifth bid nearer their £20m valuation of the Paraguay striker, even though Hughes once again warned he could walk away from the deal and look elsewhere.

Shown red: Stoke's long throw expert Rory Delap is sent off

Looking on: Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak could not have liked what he saw at the the Britannia Stadium

If Hughes was hoping his players would increase his bargaining power by showing they can do without Santa Cruz, he was to be disappointed. If he was hoping they would show Al Mubarek the money had been well spent, he was wrong again.

This, after all, was a team that included Pablo Zabaleta, Wayne Bridge, Vincent Kompany, Nigel De Jong, Wright-Phillips, Robinho and Bellamy - all Hughes signings.

The chairman would surely have noted that as he sat forlornly in the stands with a chorus of 'Delilah' from the home fans ringing in his ears and a couple of rogue superheroes jumping up and down on a hill in the distance trying to draw attention to their advertising banner.

Giving them the nod: Stoke's Amdy Faye beats Elano to the ball

'We played 28,000 against 11,' observed Stoke manager Tony Pulis.

His players fought every inch of the way for a win that lifts them out of the relegation zone and it was left to Glenn Whelan - a former City trainee - to sum up the lame performance of their opponents. 'We thought it would be really tough after we went down to 10 men but they didn't really hurt us,' said the Stoke midfielder. 'I don't think Thomas Sorensen had a save to make.'

He was right. And as City prepare for one last splurge in the transfer market, how apt that the winning goal should have been fashioned by the two men Stoke have signed in the January window for a combined total of £6m.

Star quality? Robinho vies for the ball with Stoke's Matthew Etherington

Matthew Etherington, a vital outlet for the home side as they absorbed almost an hour of pressure, crossed from the left and Beattie took advantage of Bridge's woeful lack of judgement to score his second goal in three games since signing from Sheffield United with a free header at the far post.

This after Stoke had been deprived of Rory Delap, who was dismissed for hacking at Wright-Phillips in the 37th minute. Delap was shown a straight red by Martin Atkinson, although the referee's report will determine whether the City winger could also be punished after he kicked back in retaliation.

On his way? Eastlands boss Mark Hughes is left to reflect on another disappointing performance from his Man City side

'The referee hasn't seen that and maybe it was the one bit of fortune we've had today,' said Hughes.

STOKE (4-4-2): Sorensen 6; Wilkinson 7, Shawcross 8, Abdoulaye Faye 7, Pugh 7; Delap 6, Whelan 6, Amdy Faye 7 (Griffin 78min), Etherington 8 (Sonko 86); Beattie 7, Fuller 6 (Cresswell 46, 6). Booked: Wilkinson. Sent Off: Delap.

MANCHESTER CITY (4-1-2-3): Hart 6; Richards 5, Kompany 5, Onuoha 5, Bridge 4; De Jong 6 (Caicedo 72min, 6); Zabaleta 6 (Elano 55, 5), Ireland 6; Wright-Phillips 6, Bellamy 5, Robinho 4. Booked: Elano.

Man of the match: Ryan Shawcross.

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Chelsea 'set to snap up' miserable Man City star Robinho by flogging Drogba

Ben Haim to join Sunderland on loan after being told he has no future at Manchester City

Matthew Etherington: 'Addiction will always be a part of my life'

ALL THE STOKE FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB

ALL THE MAN CITY FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB





 

Source: Daily_Mail