Stoke City v MAN CITY – THE PREVIEW

25 Nov

A trip to the Britannia Stadium is as good a test as any of a side’s capabilities, so after a convincing away win against Fulham, Man City must continue to push on as they face a resurgent Stoke team on Saturday. Renowned, with good reason, as an incredibly tough side to face on their home patch, Stoke are hitting peak form at just the right time, having been victorious in their past three Premier League matches.

The pressure on City boss Roberto Mancini eased slightly following the defeat of Fulham last Sunday, but by no means should the Blues rest on their laurels. The manager was delighted with the performance, especially the first-half, against the Cottagers and, as a number of our players have stated this week, the standard set in that fixture must be retained for all forthcoming matches. A win on Saturday would sent out a signal of intent to the rest of the league and would represent a significant victory for the Blues.

With regards to team selection, Mancini is devoid, due to suspension, of the services of Argentinean defender Pablo Zabaleta, whose fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude would have suited this game. In his place, the Italian will hope to recall Jérome Boateng after injury, although if the German remains sidelined, Micah Richards can expect to step into the breach. The only other change on the agenda is the return of volatile striker Mario Balotelli in place of Jo, after the former Inter Milan player received a red card against West Brom.

The home side, famed for their physical approach, have added a number of quality and cultured players to their squad, including the likes of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jermaine Pennant, the latter of whom is injured and thus won’t play. Combine that duo with the plethora of top-class strikers available to Tony Pulis, namely Ricardo Fuller, Jon Walters, Tuncay Sanli and Kenwyne Jones, and it quickly becomes clear that Stoke are a dangerous opponent. And that’s without mentioning Rory Delap’s throws!

Here is the team which Mancini is expected to select:

                                                               Hart

Boateng                      K. Touré                      Kompany                     Kolarov

                                                            de Jong
                                       Y. Touré                        Barry

Silva                                                                                                            Balotelli
                                                             Tévez

Subs: Given, Richards, Lescott, Vieira, A. Johnson, Milner, Adebayor

Key Battles

Kenwyne Jones v Vincent Kompany

The former Sunderland striker is a powerful and tricky operator and has often caused the Blues problems in the past. He will be a threat, not only from open play, but also on account of his incontestable aerial ability from Delap’s long throws. Kompany, City’s standout performer so far this season, will have to be at the top of his game to combat this threat, but should he do so, it will set up a good platform for the Blues.

Ryan Shawcross v Carlos Tévez

Shawcross, like much of the Stoke backline, is a no-nonsense defender, someone who has attracted the attention of a whole host of bigger clubs. He has recently been called up to the England squad but his ability will be tested to the max on Saturday when he lines up against Tévez. The Argentine was back to his best against Fulham, bagging two goals in an impressive performance and he will be a crucial figure if City are to get anything from this game.

Prediction: Stoke City 1 1 MAN CITYThis is an incredibly hard result to predict, but I feel it will be a tightly contested affair, with goals to be scored by Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Tévez. Oh, and Mario Balotelli to be sent off!

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3 Responses to “Stoke City v MAN CITY – THE PREVIEW”

  1. Matt 25/11/2010 at 6:09 pm #

    Prediction: Stoke 2-1 City

  2. elliot 25/11/2010 at 6:13 pm #

    ssn were reporting that pennant may be fit, fingers crossed he’s not tho!

    I would imagine balo will be left on the bench for this one and he’ll be brought on if we need him later in the game

  3. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 25/11/2010 at 11:06 pm #

    ” Pablo Zabaleta, whose fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude would have suited this game.”

    >>> Took the words right out of my mouth

    “Combine that duo with the plethora of top-class strikers available to Tony Pulis, namely Ricardo Fuller, Jon Walters, Tuncay Sanli and Kenwyne Jones….”

    >>> Don’t make me laugh! Hardly top class! Hahaha! Top class would be somebody like Defoe….you cannot put any Stoke striker in the same league as Defoe (sorry VJ if you are reading this!)

    >>> For the first time EVER, I actually agree with you over your team selection, and I think you have got it spot on. BUT, after Jo’s performance, will he want to disrupt the midfield and striker link after how well they played against West Brom?

    Nice preview overall Steven and as ever a very pleasant read 🙂

    p.s did you see Gill give a penalty away against City EDS?! Thats what Gus does to you!

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