Match ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester City 4.
Stoke City 1-4 Manchester City
- Sergio Aguero scores for first time since 3 December
- First league win for Man City at Stoke since 1999
- Only Man City's second league win of 2015
- Title rivals Chelsea beat Everton
Sergio Aguero scored his first goals since December as Manchester City got their title challenge back on track with victory at Stoke.
City, who had not won at the Britannia in the Premier League, took the lead through Aguero's run and finish.
Peter Crouch stooped to head a deserved equaliser for Stoke but James Milner nodded Manchester City back in front.
Aguero got his second from the penalty spot after David Silva had been fouled, before Samir Nasri drove in a fourth.
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Manuel Pellegrini's side, and ensured their seven-point deficit on Premier League leaders Chelsea did not get any bigger with Jose Mourinho's side beating Everton.
Manchester City had not won in the league since New Year's Day and their run of four consecutive league games without a win prior to arriving at Stoke was their worst since November 2009.
However, the visitors produced an impressive display in the second half which will give them a much-needed confidence boost in the title race.
Initially, though, it was hard to see beyond a Stoke win, with the hosts sensing the opportunity for victory following an early nervy display by Joe Hart.
The Manchester City keeper first fumbled a routine shot from distance by Victor Moses, before he was beaten by Crouch, after spilling another Moses effort from the forward, but he was saved by the offside flag.
With Aguero in their side, Manchester City are always capable of getting something from nothing and so it proved when they hit Stoke on the counter. Milner delivered a long-ball forward for Aguero to chase and the striker drilled into the far corner.
It was his first goal since the 4-1 win against Sunderland on 3 December but the away side's celebrations lasted just five minutes as Stoke hit back when Marko Arnautovic's pinpoint cross was expertly headed in by Crouch.
It was just reward for a strong first-half display by Stoke, but they survived a scare just before the break when Aguero appeared to head in a second, only for the goal to be correctly disallowed for a handball.
That moment could have become the game's main talking point had Manchester City failed to win but in the second half the visitors displayed an attacking intent that had so often been missing in recent weeks to ensure that would not need to be the case.
They pegged Stoke back in their own half, enabling them to take control, and Milner headed Manchester City ahead midway through the half.
From then on, the visitors were in dominant form and there was no way back for Stoke when Aguero confidently despatched a penalty before Nasri added gloss to the scoreline with a strike from the edge of the area.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes:
"I was more than pleased with what we produced in the first half.
"In the second half there were factors that meant we were not able to get at them. You leave yourself open when you are chasing as the home side and that is what happened.
"We have done really well in the last nine or 10 games. We did really well in the first 45 minutes but Manchester City were able to take it away from us with their bit of extra quality in the second half."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini:
"We returned to our normal performance, especially in the second half. We scored three goals in the second half and had more chances.
"It is important, not just the score, but also because it is not easy to score four goals at Stoke. They have been the difficult team for us to score against while I have been here. It is a tough place to come. The most important thing was to win and in the way we did today."
On Sergio Aguero's disallowed goal for handball: "Maybe he could not stop because he arrived running to the goal. It is difficult to understand."
BBC Match of the Day's Phil Neville: "Stoke should have had a penalty. The ball flicks up from James Milner on to his arm. But you see the referee's position there, it is impossible for him to see it.
"The scoreline flattered Man City. In the first half Stoke played really aggressively. Nobody is talking about Stoke but they are 10th in the league."
- 15N'ZonziSubstituted forShentonat 90+4'minutes
- 6WhelanSubstituted forAdamat 85'minutes
- 10ArnautovicBooked at 64mins
- 13MosesSubstituted forSidwellat 80'minutes
- 8NasriSubstituted forNavasat 86'minutes
- 21SilvaSubstituted forLampardat 80'minutes
- 7MilnerBooked at 52mins
- 16AgüeroBooked at 45minsSubstituted forDzekoat 73'minutes
- Lee Mason
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 1, Manchester City 4.
Substitution, Stoke City. Oliver Shenton replaces Steven N'Zonzi.
Attempt blocked. Steve Sidwell (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf.
Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).
Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Samir Nasri.
Attempt missed. Steve Sidwell (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Charlie Adam following a corner.
Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Glenn Whelan.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Fernando.
Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pablo Zabaleta with a through ball.
Fernando (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).
Attempt saved. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Samir Nasri.
Substitution, Stoke City. Steve Sidwell replaces Victor Moses.
Substitution, Manchester City. Frank Lampard replaces David Silva.
Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Stoke City 1, Manchester City 4. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Edin Dzeko.
Substitution, Manchester City. Edin Dzeko replaces Sergio Agüero because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) because of an injury.
Goal! Stoke City 1, Manchester City 3. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty Manchester City. David Silva draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Victor Moses (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by David Silva (Manchester City).
Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).
Victor Moses (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.
Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.
James Milner (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City).
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marc Muniesa.
Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Geoff Cameron with a cross.