It took awhile for City to finally break through but Stoke's complete lack of attack guaranteed the ultimate result was inevitable
Manchester City breezed past Stoke City 3-0 at the Ethiad Stadium and to be honest, it should have been much much worse. Roberto Mancini's side missed as many chances as they scored but in the end, he'll likely be happy with taking the full three points.
As one might expect from this fixture, there was a ton of early pressure from City. Sergio Agüero was especially menacing for City, coming close a couple times in the opening ten minutes of the match. City's best early chance came in the 9th minute as Gareth Barry sent and excellent cross to Kun Agüero who both stayed onside and broke between two Stoked defenders in to the box. Agüero's collection of the ball and volley shot went just over the crossbar but it was still a spectacular effort.
Barry found Agüero again in the 22nd minute with a long low pass to the striker, just outside the Stoke box. Agüero cut to the right, using Eden Dzeko as a screen before firing a shot that was reflexively parried away by Asmir Begovic.
In the 33rd minute City came ever so close again to getting the first goal. Against it was the combination of Barry and Agüero as the midfielder whipped in a quick cross to Agüero who was unmarked just yards away from the Stoke goal. Agüero got off a header that looked sure to tuck itself neatly inside the post but Begovic was again up to to the task, blocking away the shot.
So it makes perfect sense that Pablo Zabaleta finally put City in the lead in the 43rd minute. Zabaleta started the play finding James Milner along the end line and then cutting in towards goal. Milner's cross was intercepted by Begovic but he only managed to direct the ball right the lurking Zabaleta who gladly put the ball in the empty net, putting City ahead 1-0 at hafltime.
Stoke's offense was non-existent, as you might expect, managing only one shot in the first half.
City were at it again right out of the break as Yaya Touré found Eden Dzeko behind the Stoke defense with a great ball from the midfield. Dzeko patiently waited for the ball's second lower bounce before firing a volley that skimmed just over the crossbar.
Dzeko had another chance in the 56th minute that he did not waste. Agüero did the heavy lifting in the box dancing around a couple Stoke defenders before putting the ball in towards goal. Begovic went to ground and parried away the effort but Dzeko right on top of the rebound for an easy tap-in. Dzeko immediately removed his jersey showing off his "Happy New Year" celebration shirt.
City added a third goal in the 73rd minute thanks to a penalty on Steven N'Zonzi who took out David Silva in the box. After a slight delay as Silva was attended to by the physio, Agüero stepped up to the spot and scored despite the fact that Begovic was able to get his hand on the ball.