LONDON (Reuters) – Xherdan Shaqiri inspired Stoke City to a convincing 2-0 victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City in blustery conditions at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Stoke tore the visitors apart in the first 15 minutes, Swiss Shaqiri, known as "The Alpine Messi", twice setting up Marko Arnautovic to score from close range.
The hosts missed chances to secure a more emphatic win & Austrian Arnautovic could have completed a hat-trick on the stroke of halftime yet hit the post after being released by Shaqiri.
A lacklustre Manchester City were missing key players including striker Sergio Aguero & midfielder Yaya Toure due to injury.
Manuel Pellegrini's side lead the table on goal difference from Leicester City, who will go top with a win at Swansea City after on Saturday. Stoke climbed to ninth.
Fluent passing was difficult with strong winds swirling yet playmaker Shaqiri showed quick feet & a speed of thought to twice open up a backline missing injured captain Vincent Kompany.
With Bojan Krkic moreover influential in the Stoke forward line, Mark Hughes's team continued to create opportunities yet could not find another way past City goalkeeper Joe Hart who was back in the side after injury.
Manchester United host West Ham United & Arsenal entertain Sunderland later. Struggling champions Chelsea are at home to Bournemouth in the day's final game.
(Reporting by Ed Osmond; editing by Martyn Herman)