Mark Hughes welcomes Manchester City to the Britannia Stadium this Saturday, in hope of snatching three points off his former employers.
The current Stoke manager parted ways with City on frosty grounds, but Hughes has since then managed Fulham and QPR. Despite managing the West London clubs since leaving City, he has only taken one point off his former employers, with a 1-1 draw with Fulham at the Etihad in 2011.
Some expect Stoke to be in the relegation dogfight; however, it is still early too write them off for relegation. Hughes’ side has had a good start in the Premier League this season, with wins over West Ham United and Crystal Palace, while losing their opening game to Liverpool.
We all expected Manchester City to have a comfortable opening three games, if we’re honest. Pellegrini’s first home game went swimmingly, with a 4-0 win over Newcastle, although an injury to Kompany did dampen their spirits. However, their 3-2 loss to Cardiff City was an unexpected one – their glaring defensive holes came through in that match, as did their game versus Hull City the week after. If Bruce’s men had kept their composure in front of goal, it could have been a different story. Instead, City won the game 2-0.
Stoke City will be without: Charlie Adam, Glenn Whelan, Jonathan Walters and Jamie Ness.
David Silva could miss out after suffering a thigh injury on international duty with Spain. City will also be without: Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and new signing Martin Demichelis.
Manchester City are yet to win at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League.
The past four meetings at the Britannia in the Premier League between the two sides have ended in 1-1 draws.
Two Stoke City players make up the Top 10 in the EPL Stats Centre in terms of tackling so far this season: Steven N’Zonzi (15 tackles, 11 won) and Marc Wilson(14 tackles, 12 won).
Meanwhile, two Manchester City players make up the Top 10 in terms of passing so far this season: Yaya Toure (242/267 passes) and Joleon Lescott (182/203 passes)
The Battle of the Captains
Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross
The 24-year old retained his captaincy when Hughes was appointed and Pulis was sacked at the start of the summer. His partnership with Robert Huth is formidable, and so far this season have let in two goals in three games. Shawcross netted the winner in the game against Crystal Palace and tops the Defence stats in the EPL Stats Centre.
In their last game versus West Ham, Shawcross managed (4) successful clearances, winning 100% of his tackles, ground duels and winning 75% of his aerial duels.
So far this season, he has averaged 12.86 minutes per successful clearance – although one of his errors has led to a goal.
Manchester City: Yaya Toure
Likely to captain the side in Kompany’s absence; Yaya Toure is the rock of the City team.
He is capable of every aspect of the game. Possession? Tick. Passing? Tick. Attacking? Tick. Defending? Tick.
Toure heads the passing stats in the EPL Index Stats Centre, with (270) minutes played, (267) total passes and a total passing accuracy of (90.64%). He has played the least amount of passes backwards for a midfielder in the Premier League so far this season (8.24% – 22 backward passes), while playing (75) passes forward.
The Cote d’Ivoire international has scored two goals this season.
Prediction – Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City
Stoke City have solid home form versus Manchester City in the Premier League. I’m backing the DRAW at odds of 4.030 at Pinnacle Sports. With the last four games at the Britannia Stadium between the two sides ending 1-1, I am also tipping Under 2.5 goals in the game at the odds of 1.95.