Stoke City-Manchester City Betting Preview: Expect the Potters to return to form at the Britannia Stadium

Tony Pulis' men have been uncharacteristically soft-centred of late, but Al Hain-Cole thinks that they will rediscover their mettle in time to frustrate the visitor's trophy hunt
After a difficult December, Manchester City have started 2013 playing like a team on a mission, winning all four games since the turn of the year without conceding a single goal.

Roberto Mancini’s men are obviously determined not to finish the season empty handed, but with their neighbours flying high at the top of the league, perhaps their best chance of silverware lies in the FA Cup.

Having easily seen off Watford in the third round, the 2011 winners must now make a potentially tricky journey to Stoke, with Coral offering 4/5 (1.80) odds on them coming away with a victory.

The Potters’ 4-1 extra time win over Crystal Palace in the previous round replay is their only victory in the last five games, and they are underdogs at 7/2 (4.50) to cause an upset in this tie.

Remarkably, the last five encounters between these two sides at the Britannia Stadium have resulted in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, and you can get odds of 5/2 (3.50) on them playing out another stalemate on Saturday and that looks a decent value play.

Tony Pulis will be aghast at his usually mean side’s defensive performances over the past few games, particularly the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in the last home Premier League game.

The embarrassment caused by that result will surely make Stoke even more determined to return to their more accustomed formidable home form, when they regularly frustrate big name visitors.

The hosts have not lost an FA Cup game at the Britannia in nine outings, so they are well placed to maintain their strong home record against Mancini’s men in this one.

Expect normal service to be resumed and for Pulis’ men to put in a solid performance at the Potteries, keeping the score-line to under 2.5 goals, which you can back at generous 4/5 (1.80) odds.

A strong display from the home side could well force City to settle for a share of the spoils, so odds of 5/2 (3.50) are not be missed on these opponents playing out their sixth consecutive draw at this venue.

Under 2.5 goals at 7/4 (2.75) with Coral
Draw at 13/5 (3.60) with Coral

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al
you can follow him on Twitter here.

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