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Premier League

  • 24 March 2012
  • • 17:30
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 27535
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Stoke City - Manchester City Preview: Mancini's side have scored one fewer goal on their travels than Potters have at home and away

Tony Pulis' men host the title contenders after almost picking up a shock win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in midweek. Watch it live on ESPN this Saturday


PROBABLE LINEUPS
STOKE CITY

Begovic
Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson
Shotton, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington
Crouch, Walters


MANCHESTER CITY


Hart
Richards, Savic, K Toure, Clichy
 Y Toure, Barry
Silva, Aguero, Nasri
Balotelli


Stoke boss Tony Pulis will be without Salif Diao after the midfielder picked up an injury in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Wednesday. Glenn Whelan, who came on for the former Senegal international at White Hart Lane, should replace him. Ricardo Fuller is the only other enforced absentee as he serves the final game of his three-match ban for violent conduct following his red card in the 1-0 defeat at Chelsea earlier in the month.

Roberto Mancini will be without club captain Vincent Kompany who is yet to recover from a calf injury obtained earlier in March. Therefore Stefan Savic is likely to partner Kolo Toure in the centre of defence. Joleon Lescott (groin) is unlikely to feature on Saturday.



DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester City have scored 27 goals away from home this season, just one less than Stoke City have netted in total.
  • Pulis' men have failed to score only once in their last seven domestic matches, in the 1-0 defeat away to Chelsea.
  • Mancini's side can go top of the Premier League table by two points with a win over Stoke this weekend, with Manchester United in action on Monday at home to Fulham.
  • Although both sides are fighting markedly different battles this season, the league is both teams’ only remaining competition, having been eliminated from all other cups.
  • Both teams have shared familiar foes in the domestic trophies this season. Manchester City were knocked out of the League Cup by Liverpool at the semi-final stage, while the Potters were defeated in the FA Cup and the League Cup by Kenny Dalglish’s side.
  • Sergio Aguero scored either side of Adam Johnson’s 25-yard strike in a 3-0 win over the Potters back in December.
  • A reverse of that scoreline is unlikely but not inconceivable. Mancini's side have only won two of their last seven away top-flight matches, with losses to Swansea City and Sunderland among those dropped points.
  • Aguero, David Silva and Samir Nasri have as many assists between them (27) as the entire Stoke team in the league this campaign.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
10Cameron JeromeStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
20Matthew UpsonDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
2Micah RichardsDefender
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
4Kolo ToureDefender
18Gareth BarryMidfielder
8Samir NasriMidfielder
21David SilvaStriker
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
45Mario BalotelliStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
15Stefan SavicDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
11Adam JohnsonMidfielder
34Nigel De JongMidfielder
10Carlos TévezStriker
Players to Watch
Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 0 0
On paper, Manchester City should brush the Potters aside. However, for much of the season Tony Pulis’ men have proved tough to score against and a 0-0 draw is not out of the question. To have any chance of beating the Blues they will need a striker such as Peter Crouch to prove his top-flight pedigree by nodding in a goal or two on the counterattack.

The former Liverpool striker will no doubt be the target of Stoke’s crosses on Saturday. He scored against his former club in last weekend's FA Cup quarter-final defeat and the majority of the Britannia Stadium will want his goalscoring head to be screwed on once more this weekend.
Yaya Touré
Yaya Touré
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 42
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 1 0
The Ivorian's raw physical power will be key to ensuring that City are not frustrated by what will surely be a robust Stoke side.  The midfielder is a vital man for Mancini thanks to his strength in breaking up play and winning back possession as well as his ability to drive forward with bulldozing runs, and could provide the impetus to emerge from the Britannia Stadium with a positive result.
Prediction
Had Manchester City stumbled against Chelsea on Wednesday, I might have foreseen a challenge from the Potters, but as it stands, Roberto Mancini’s men should have enough momentum to eventually win this clash comfortably. Stoke City at home are not opponents to be underestimated, however, and the visitors cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal should they hope to beat Manchester United to the finishing line.
Editor's Prediction

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