2011 FA Cup Final: Manchester City vs Stoke City

Manchester City 1 - 0 Stoke City

  • Manchester City
    • Yaya Toure 74'
    • (Powerful low left-footed strike from 10 yards into the centre of the net)
  • Stoke City
    • No Goals

Wembley Stadium, London, Saturday 14th May 2011, 15:00 GMT

Attendance: 88,643

Match Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

Entertainment Rating: 2.5/5

Team Line-ups:

Manchester City (Light Blue Shirt/White Shorts)

  • GK 25Joe Hart
  • RB 2Micah Richards
  • CB 4Vincent Kompany
  • CB 19Joleon Lescott
  • LB 13Aleksandar Kolarov
  • DM 34Nigel de Jong
  • DM 18Gareth Barry
  • CM 42Yaya Toure
  • RW 21David Silva
  • LW 45Mario Balotelli
  • CF 32Carlos Tevez (c)
  • Substitutes
  • GK 1Shay Given
  • DF 5Pablo Zabaleta
  • DF 38Dedryck Boyata
  • MF 7James Milner
  • MF 11Adam Johnson
  • MF 24Patrick Vieira
  • FW 10Edin Dzeko


Roberto Mancini

Stoke City (Red and White Stripes)

  • 29 GKThomas Sorensen
  • 28 RBAndy Wilkinson
  • 17 CBRyan Shawcross (c)
  • 4 CBRobert Huth
  • 12 LBMarc Wilson
  • 16 RMJermaine Pennant
  • 6 CMGlenn Whelan
  • 24 CMRory Delap
  • 26 LMMatthew Etherington
  • 9 CFKenwyne Jones
  • 19 CFJonathan Walters
  • Substitutes
  • 27 GKCarlo Nash
  • 5 DFDanny Collins
  • 25 DFAbdoulaye Faye
  • 14 MFDanny Pugh
  • 15 MFSalif Diao
  • 18 MFDean Whitehead
  • 22 FWJohn Carew


Tony Pulis

Road to Wembley:

  • 2 – 2 vs Leicester City (A)
  • 4 – 2 vs Leicester City (H)
  • 1 – 1 vs Notts County (A)
  • 5 – 0 vs Notts County (H)
  • 3 – 0 vs Aston Villa (H)
  • 1 – 0 vs Reading (H)
  • 1 – 0 vs Manchester United (Wembley)
  • 3rd Round
  • Replay
  • 4th Round
  • Replay
  • 5th Round
  • Q/Finals
  • S/Finals
  • 1 – 1 vs Cardiff City (H)
  • 2 – 0 AET vs Cardiff City (A)
  • 1 – 0 vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)
  • 3 – 0 vs Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
  • 2 – 1 vs West Ham United (H)
  • 5 – 0 vs Bolton Wanderers (W)

Match Highlights

Match Breakdown

It was already known to the footballing world for a few years in advance that the 2011 FA Cup Final would have to be played whilst English football's domestic season was still ongoing. This was due to Wembley Stadium hosting the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final on 28th May and the rule makers at UEFA specified that no action could take place on the surface of the stadium for the preceding two weeks, as befits the grandeur of the centrepiece of European football. Naturally, this fact only started to come to light in the wider media a few months before the Final and was controversial to the traditionalist fans of the FA Cup who were unhappy that other matches were taking place on the same day.

Nevertheless, the clash between Manchester City and Stoke City whetted the appetite of both their own fans and general football fans for a number of reasons. Since their highly publicised purchase of the club in 2008, Abu Dhabi United Group had pumped at least £250m into the playing staff at Manchester City making them one of the wealthiest clubs in the world. They had just finished 3rd in the Premier League therefore qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. However, the club had not won a major trophy since the 1976 League Cup so their super-rich Arabic owners were becoming restless at the manager Roberto Mancini but beating their more successful neighbours, Manchester United, in the semi-final was a huge stepping stone in their aim.

Stoke City, on the other hand, were no doubt underdogs in the Final but had forged a reputation in recent years for admirably taking on the challenge of beating the so-called 'Big Clubs' with a brand of hard-but-fair tactical astute football under their respected manager Tony Pulis. 'The Potters' had regularly been beating teams above them in the Premier League and seemed to always rise to the occasion alongside the mightily vociferous support of their passionate fans. Their 5 – 0 demolishing of Bolton Wanderers in the semi-final also proved that playing at Wembley did not hold any fear for them as they approached the first ever FA Cup Final in their long and proud 148 year history.

Although both teams had fitness scares to important players, namely Tevez and Etherington, the line-ups were both the strongest expected from two teams known for their high energy and stamina. Man City's forward three of David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez were full of tricks and flicks and liked to flexibly swap positions throughout the previous season's league matches. Whereas Stoke had height in abundance throughout their team with 'six-foot-plus' players dotted everywhere to accompany the freakishly long-throwing ability of Rory Delap, which added an extra dimension to their tactics.

As the match started it was obvious after only a few minutes that The Potters were not going to have possession of the ball very often as Man City were happy to pass, pass, pass...and then pass some more in an effort to wear down the Stoke players on a roasting afternoon at Wembley. The confidence that the men in light blue were showing on the ball seemed to worry the Stoke players as the goalscoring chances started to flow towards Thomas Sorensen.

First it was Kolarov who flew down the left and whipped a ball towards Sorensen's near post to provide a warning sign. Then in the 11th minute, Yaya Toure hit a rocket of a shot from 35 yards out that just swerved inches wide of the top right-hand corner at the last second. This was followed in the 24th minute by a curling Balotelli effort from the left corner of the penalty area that was flying in the same top corner until a fantastic leaping save from Sorensen denied Man City the lead. The final chance of the half dropped to Silva who, with  the goal at his mercy, mis-connected with the ball and struck a volley into the ground and over the bar from just seven yards out. Stoke were hanging on but needed a massive improvement if they wanted an opportunity to compete for the trophy.

Whatever Tony Pulis said to his players in the dressing room seemed to work as Pennant, Etherington and Whelan finally began to have more touches of the ball and stepped up their work-rate in the Stoke midfield. This increase in effort manifested itself on the hour mark when a long through-ball by Etherington found Kenwyne Jones racing onto it. Jones outmuscled Lescott to face Hart one-on-one but the England goalkeeper was quick off his line and stayed focussed to block the ball and prevent Stoke scoring with what turned out to be their only shot on target all day.

The match seemed to dissipate into lethargy for the following ten minutes as neither side could find a breakthrough but Manchester City ultimately reaped the reward that their advanced play had deserved when Yaya Toure gave them the lead in the 74th minute. The ball ricocheted around in the box after a Balotelli shot until it fell nicely onto Toure's left boot as he lashed home a half-volley from near the penalty spot. Sorensen had no chance as the ball almost broke the net with the sheer ferocity of the strike. In the end it would be the winning goal to hand the blue half of Manchester their first silverware in 35 years and the seed of impetus to begin the slow hopeful climb up to the echelons of football's elite.