Since being fired as Manchester City manager, Mark Hughes has not beaten his former club – losing three on three occasions and drawing once. His Stoke side, currently fifth in the Premier League and featuring former City midfielder Stephen Ireland, will have to be at their best to change that. Their last win over Saturday's visitors came in January 2009, while Hughes was at the helm.
City, meanwhile, are adapting to a new coach of their own. Despite scoring eight times in three games, more than any other club, defeat to newly promoted Cardiff last month proved to be an early setback for Manuel Pellegrini. Having loaned out Abdul Razak and Gareth Barry in the time since, will he successfully balance attacking guile with defensive solidity at the Britannia?
Stoke duo Geoff Cameron and Kenwyne Jones could return from injury, although Charlie Adam and Glenn Whelan are doubts. However, a thigh problem from international duty has seen David Silva join new signing Martin Demichelis and captain Vincent Kompany on the treatment table. Stevan Jovetic, a £22 million summer signing from Fiorentina, is likely to make his City debut, and Micah Richards could also return from a spell on the sidelines.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Stoke 0 Manchester City 1 (Zabaleta), FA Cup, January 2013
Manchester City 3 (Zabaleta, Dzeko, Aguero) Stoke 0, Premier League, January 2013
Stoke 1 (Crouch) Manchester City 1 (Garcia), Premier League, September 2012
Manchester City have kept 20 clean sheets since the start of last season, more than any other club.
Stoke had the Premier League's worst passing accuracy in 2012-13 (70.2%); that figure is currently 78.7%.
After scoring only four headed goals last season, Manchester City have already registered three from 18 attempts.
Stoke to win: 5.5
Manchester City to win: 1.61
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10:30pm