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Published: 16:41 | 15/12/15

Arnautovic brace beats City


Marko Arnautovic scored both goals in Stoke City’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium.

Xherdan Shaqiri set up Arnautovic for an early opener, before the same assist-finish combination doubled Stoke’s lead in the 15th minute.

The league leaders were able to trouble the Stoke defence only occasionally and weakly during the remainder of the affair, while the hosts missed a succession of good opportunities to add to their total.

City played the last 20 minutes or so with 10 men after Fernando, with Manuel Pellegrini having used all permitted substitutions, hobbled off due to a hamstring strain.

The triumph lifted Mark Hughes’s men into the top half of the table, with City set to lose first place on the ladder.

The day finished a little unpleasantly for Arnautovic, who clashed with two visiting substitutes late on – the Austrian had a tiff with Jesus Navas over a throw-in and endured a shoving match Fabian Delph after the final whistle – but he is unlikely to dwell on those incidents after being Stoke’s lunchtime hero.

The hosts took the lead with just over six minutes gone, as Shaqiri concluded a fine right-wing run by providing an excellent delivery across the City six-yard line, with Arnautovic getting between visiting defenders to strike a finish past Joe Hart.

After Jack Butland had saved well from Kevin De Bruyne, Stoke moved further ahead when Shaqiri's excellent through-ball, neatly stepped over by Bojan, was met with Arnautovic’s superb first-time finish across the advancing Hart.

Arnautovic twice went close to completing his hat-trick before the break, firstly heading a Glenn Whelan cross narrowly wide, before striking the post when clean through from another Shaqiri pass.

Between Arnautovic’s two missed chances, Butland preserved his side’s two-goal lead by using his left foot to turn an Aleksandar Kolarov drive onto his near post and away.

Hart kept City in the clash early in the second period, saving Bojan’s strike after an excellent run from the former Barcelona man, with Arnautovic unable to force home the rebound.

With City’s defence in tatters, Bojan and Arnautovic combined to give Shaqiri a fine chance to wrap up the points, but the Swiss attacker missed his kick from five yards out.

Hart denied Bojan from yet another dangerous Shaqiri pass, while Kolarov struck the side-netting at the other end, as Stoke saw out the clash in relative comfort.

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