Manchester City sent out a resounding statement on Monday night as they brushed aside last season’s title rivals Liverpool 3-1. They’ll be looking to maintain their 100% start to the season, albeit against a different nature of opposition. Stoke are hardly noted for their expansive football and will instead turn to defensive rigidity and physical presence to try and nick a result.
But if there’s one team with the firepower to break down a well-drilled rear-guard it’s Man City. Stevan Jovetic, their third choice striker, scored a brace on Monday, while Sergio Aguero has two in two games from the bench, his goal against Liverpool coming just 23 seconds after he came on. He may, of course, start on Saturday, but Pellegrini can equally choose to ease him back towards 90 minutes safe in the knowledge that his other forwards are more than capable. Is there a more luxurious substitute in world football?
Stoke have not had a great start to the season, losing to Villa and drawing with Hull, two sides they’ll be battling it out with in the bottom half of the table. It is difficult to see them getting anything out of this game, especially given their record away at City, where they have never won in the league.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
Man City 1 (Yaya Toure) Stoke 0, Premier League, February 2014
Stoke 0 Man City 0, Premier League, September 2013
Stoke 0 Man City 1 (Zabaleta), FA Cup, January 2013
Stoke have never been beaten by City at home in the Premier League
When City have been at home, however, they have won all 6 Premier League encounters
Apart from last season, City have put 3 past Stoke once in each of the seasons since 2008-09 when Stoke came to the Premier League.
Only Aston Villa (491) committed more fouls than Stoke City (486) in the 2013-14 Premier League.
The last time City scored less than 2 goals in a Premier League match was all the way back in March
Man City to win: 1.19
Stoke to win: 21
Highlights on BBC1 at 10.20pm.