Friday, 13 September 2013

Match Preview: Stoke City vs Manchester City

City looking to end poor record at the Britannia

By Alex Mason

The last time the Blues beat Stoke City away from home in the First Division was in 1982, with the blues coming out 3-1 winners, explaining that Saturday's trip to the Potteries will be a difficult one as the Blues will be set to have their work cut out. Last season's away record was evidently the reason why bitter rivals Manchester United won the title as City, under previous manager Roberto Mancini, dropped a massive 24 points.

"From Z to A" - Aguero and Zabaleta will be hoping to capitalise on Argentina's World Cup Qualification this week
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Fast forward to this season, and Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked a bit nervous against two newly promoted sides in Cardiff City and Hull City. However, Pellegrini will be pleased that his new look side still managed to score four goals within the two games, but there will be a number of defensive worries, with the team looking totally different without captain Vincent Kompany.

Pellegrini acted to recruit Martin Demichelis at the end of the transfer window, only for the Argentinian to be later ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury just days after signing. With only two recognised centre backs available, it could be a very tough afternoon for the Blues.

David Silva will miss out on Saturday after he missed Spain’s midweek friendly with a thigh problem. Defender Micah Richards is also ruled out with a hamstring injury along whilst fellow full-back Gael Clichy is also expected to drop out due to injury. Kompany has been evaluated as too much of a risk for Saturday, whilst Stevan Jovetic could make his first City appearance after missing the first three games of the season.

After sitting on the bench in the 2-0 win over Hull City, he could also start alongside Alvaro Negredo, who is yet to start from the first whistle despite some deadly form in the opening stages of the season - performances which helped him receive the club's Player of the Month award for August.

Meanwhile, Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam is doubtful for this weekend’s game, after he withdrew from Scotland’s squad in midweek with a back spasm. However, The Potters are hopeful Adam will be fit to play. Besides the fitness worries of Adam, Mark Hughes' side are set to have every player available for this weekend’s clash.

The video below is of City’s rare win at The Britannia in last season’s FA Cup fourth round tie.

My thoughts

I cannot see Pellegrini’s men getting the full three points in this game. When the fixtures get released every July, I dread looking at Stoke away. We have never won at the Britannia in the Premier League but last year’s FA Cup fourth round victory at Stoke has given me hope. However, the atmosphere that City receive at The Britannia is never good and I think the way Stoke are playing at the moment, they will cause more than a few problems for The Blues. Another poor away performance is on its way.

Prediction: Stoke 1-1 City

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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