Stoke City delivered two heroic 1-0 victories against Chelsea and Southampton, respectively, before losing 2-0 to Sam Allardyce’s lowly Sunderland. The Potters will be in 12th place when they welcome Man City on Saturday, when they could have started in eighth. Points will be tough to come by against the Citizens.
A second yellow card for Ryan Shawcross deprived Stoke City of their centre-back and captain just after half-time. Stoke were the assaulted by 18 total shots and eventually conceded twice in the last 10 minutes. Even still, Stoke were poor in only managing seven total shots against a team fighting relegation.
Stoke do not have good memories from this fixture last season, which was won 4-1 by City in February. Hughes and his players will be delighted that Shawcross’ one-game domestic suspension will apply for their Capital One Cup quarter-final against Sheffield Wednesday. Their captain will be eligible to return to try and keep City’s world-class attackers at bay.
Manuel Pellegrini appears to be working a fine balancing act with a Man City side that can easily grow complement and drop points when they should be dominating the league. Three games without a win and Pellegrini was again feeling the pressure to deliver, and did not disappoint with a fine 3-1 performance against Southampton.
Pellegrini’s central and attacking midfielders are linking together extremely well, with Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph both excellent against Southampton. Pellegrini just needs to get Kompany back to help City start keeping clean-sheets again.
Sergio Agüero could be a question mark for this game after limping off last Saturday, but Pellegrini described the Argentine’s heel injury as a minor concern. A midweek break could be enough for Agüero to get the treatment he needs to play against Stoke.
Tip one: Man City @ 1.66 with Betfair
Tip two: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.95 with Betfair
Stoke have conceded just seven goals at home this season, while City have only been able to score seven goals in their away games. The Citizens are the rightful favourites to win, but they should be content with 1-0 or 2-0 and a clean-sheet.