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Premier League Stoke fall at the hands of Bristol City

Stoke City travelled to Bristol for a much anticipated Carabao Cup clash. The Potters suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Newcastle in their last Premier League game, whereas Bristol City recorded an emphatic 4-1 victory in the Championship over big-spenders Derby County. Clearly, in spite of the divisional difference between the two sides, the Cup encounter would be a tight game.

Both sides made changes for the clash, with Stoke altering six players from the Newcastle loss, and Bristol City rotating nine of the 11 starters from the Derby victory. Notably, Bristol-born goalkeeper Jack Butland, who now plays for Stoke, was left on the bench against his hometown side.

In front of a half-full Ashton Gate, the game started at exhilarating pace. Bristol City forward Matty Taylor was unlucky to only find the side netting when through one-on-one with goalkeeper Lee Grant, whilst Stoke also looked dangerous on the break, through wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting. The half-time whistle came at the perfect time for the hosts, as Premier League Stoke were beginning to take hold of the game. Debutant goalkeeper Luke Steele was forced into a fine save at the end of the first half, and centre-back Aden Flint made a stunning goal line clearance to ensure that the match was all square at the interval.

City came out all guns blazing for the second half, and their energy was rewarded in the 50th minute when Matty Taylor’s shot bounced back off the post to £5.3m summer signing Famara Diedhiou, who duly headed home. It was the third goal in three games for the Senegalese, perhaps a sign that he is beginning to adapt to English football after a slow start. With a rampant Ashton Gate crowd behind them, City continued to dominate. Taylor, who was a complete live wire all game, cut in from the left, before driving the ball past Lee Grant to make it 2-0 in the 61st minute.

Unsurprisingly, the game opened up after this. Stoke pushed bodies forward and could have easily got back into the game. Substitute Saido Berahino missed a glaring opportunity to make it 2-1, however their goalkeeper Lee Grant was equally forced into a fine double save.

2-0 was definitely a fair reflection of the game. Bristol City looked energetic, hungry and had the backing of a vociferous home crowd, whereas Stoke lacked cutting edge and looked disinterested at times. Potters’ manager Mark Hughes even stated that his side were “very poor”, highlighting just how badly they played.

The next round sees Bristol City face up to another Premier League side at Ashton Gate: Crystal Palace. Palace have endured a dreadful start to the season, losing all six league matches without even scoring a goal. Combined with the fact that City are now unbeaten in 11, this suggests another Premier League team could be defeated at The Gate!