Peter Crouch scored a spectacular volley this evening as Stoke City held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
A tetchy first half ended 0-0 with only a couple memorable moments. Firstly, a high challenge from Gareth Barry on Glenn Whelan inside the penalty area that saw the England international escape any punishment. Later, David Silva drew blood and required a bandage following an elbow from Dean Whitehead. And Pablo Zabaleta cleared Matthew Etherington’s untouched corner off the goal line.
Edin Dzeko wasted the best chance of a forgettable first half and a one-on-one at the start of the second, but Peter Crouch gave the game something to remember in the 59th minute when he controlled Jermaine Pennant’s flick-on, 20 yards out to swivel on the spot before looping a dipping volley into the top far-hand corner to put the Potters in front. A front runner for the Premier League goal of the season.
Joe Hart had no chance in stopping the effort as the England number 1 was beaten from outside the penalty area for only the third time this season.
The goal unsettled Manchester City for following minutes, which included Kolo Toure’s poor header almost letting Crouch in one-on-one only for the Ivorian’s pace advantage to bail him out.
Last year’s FA Cup final hero over Stoke rescued Manchester City with 15 minutes to go in this game. Yaya Toure’s 35 yard strike, originally heading straight down the middle of the goal took a deflection off Ryan Shawcross as it headed past Asmir Begovic to level the score.
Wilson Palacios fired narrowly over late on before Toure had an undeflected long range effort also go into the crowd.
Manchester City tested Begovic in the Stoke goal 6 times, in a game they maintained over two-thirds of the possession. Mario Balotelli had another disappointing game this month; making fewer touches than any of his team mates that started this game.
Substitute Carlos Tevez completed all 17 of his pass attempts, but was unable to help his side to victory in the way that he did last Wednesday when he assisted Samir Nasri with the winner over Chelsea. The Argentine’s only effort of this game was blocked.
This point takes Manchester City to the top of the league on goal difference. Manchester United’s game in hand at home to Fulham takes place on Monday night.
Statistics provided by Opta Sports