Mark Hughes faces off against his former club on Saturday, when he takes his Stoke side to the Etihad for the third round of fixtures in the English Premier League. Both teams managed to avoid defeat last weekend, with Stoke drawing 1-1 with Hull City and Manchester City blowing away last season’s second place team Liverpool 3-1 in their Monday night home fixture. However, Hughes’ Stoke side is extremely hard to break down, and Manuel Pellegrini will know his work is cut out for him to get a result against the Potters on Saturday.
Edin Dzeko scored the only goal of a tense, hard-fought affair at the Etihad to win the game 1-0 for the Citizens.
Alvaro Negredo is still on the sidelines for City, and Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that new signing Eliaquim Mangala will not feature in this match due to a lack of match fitness. Robert Huth and Victor Moses are both set to miss out due to lack of match fitness for the Potters.
- Stoke City only scored 2 headed goals in the Premier League last season, fewer than any other team – Courtesy OptaJoe
- Stoke have only kept 3 clean sheets in their last 25 Premier League games – Courtesy Optajoe
- These two teams met at Wembley in 2011 for the FA Cup final, en route to Manchester City’s first title in 44 years.
- Since being promoted to the Premier League, Stoke have yet to score away at the Eithad in 6 attempts.
- Head-to-head: MCI:46 STK:35 D:24
Manchester City – Stevan Jovetic
After an injury-plagued first campaign for the Montenegrin forward from Fiorentina, it seems Stevan Jovetic has finally arrived in the Premier League – after a match-winning performance against Liverpool at the Etihad on Monday that included 2 goals and bagged him the Man of the Match award. His link-up play with Dzeko was excellent, and he played just off his Bosnian strike partner to team up with Silva and Nasri in a more mobile attacking role, one that saw him drift to the flanks as well as run into space in the centre; his creativity and spark give City an edge they didn’t know they had last season, so expect him to dazzle once more on home turf.
Stoke City – Ryan Shawcross
His goalscoring exploits may have seen the Potters bag a point against Hull last weekend, but the 26 year old defender will have to be on top of his game to prevent the Citizens from scoring. He made almost as many clearances last season than Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis last season (330 to 337) and won more aerial duels (142) than any defender in the league. Expect him to be a nuisance on set pieces, but his aerial dominance may count for nothing against City’s formidable front 4 and their creativity and passing fluidity.
Projected Starting XIs
Manchester City: 4-2-2-2: Hart – Zabaleta,Kompany,Demichelis,Kolarov – Fernando,Fernandinho – Navas,Silva – Jovetic,Dzeko.
Stoke City: 4-3-3: Begovic – Bardsley,Shawcross,Wilson,Pieters – N’Zonzi,Whelan,Sidwell – Arnautovic,Odemwingie,Diouf
David Silva can always be counted on for a creative spark when Man City need it most, so have a punt on him assisting at least one goal vs Stoke at 3.5!
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Stoke City are a notoriously difficult fixture, even at home, but with City currently on song, it is hard to look past them for the win.
Manchester City 4-0 Stoke City