Player ratings: Stoke City v Manchester City
Hart – Showed good judgement during a testing first half. Unfazed by Delap’s throws and was confident when coming for the ball. 7
Richards – Very poor in possession during the first half, but made up for it with sublime skill to break the deadlock. Realising the defender would expect him to lay the ball off, then spinning into the vacated space was a piece of attacking play better than anything offered by Balotelli, Silva et al. 7
K Toure – Not his kind of game, but dug in at the back and made numerous interceptions. Undid all the good work with a needless punt to concede possession for the equaliser. 6
Kompany – Showed his strength, and needed it, in the aerial battles with Jones and Fuller. Wasn’t able to impose himself to the usual high standards during the first half. 6
Kolarov – Once again provided a ready outlet down the flanks. Good to see him looking strong at the back in his first real defensive test against Pennant. 7
De Jong – Bypassed by Stoke in the first half and struggled to get his passing going on the icy pitch. More involved in the second half as we kept the ball on the floor. 6
Barry – Anonymous in the first half, before finding his passing game in the second. A player of his experience needs to offer more when the going is tough. 6
Silva – Didn’t shirk the trying conditions and showed he has the character to succeed in the Premier League. Linked up well with Tevez and was our best passer on a mixed day for the rest. 7
Milner (Johnson, 82) – Made the wrong decisions with the ball and conceded possession far too often. The goal-line clearance was James’ most valuable contribution. Currently not on the right wavelength for our short passing game. 5
Balotelli (Jo 90) – Did little to dispell the feeling that he’d rather be in Milan dining with Galliani. Still managed a few moments of skill and played some incisive passes. 6
Tevez – The link up play was mixed, but this was a battling performance from the skipper. Kept plugging away and repeatedly refused to be knocked off the ball by bigger opponents. 7
A Johnson – Came on just after Micah’s goal and helped in the keep-ball that followed. 6
Jo – A time wasting substitution. Sadly it didn’t work.
Man of the match: For his speed in adapting to the Premier League, Aleksander Kolarov.