Manchester City are desperate for all three points when they host Stoke City at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon.
The 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Tuesday is 2 points dropped for Man City than 1 point gained. They are at an immediate threat of dropping out of the top four if they fail to win here as fifth placed Manchester United are staying 2 points behind them.
Stoke City’s league form took a massive U-turn and they have now failed to win in their last three matches. The 4-0 defeat against Liverpool was followed by a 4-1 thrashing by Tottenham and the vulnerabilities in defence was fast exposed.
- Manchester City are undefeated in 6 of their last 7 games, with 4 wins and 2 draws. Their only defeat during the time was in Manchester Derby by a solo goal.
- The Citizen’s home form in the last five matches is not a strong won as they have won 2 and lost in 3. But the defeats came against strong sides in the league like Leicester City, Tottenham and neighbours United.
- Stoke City are coming on the back of consecutive heavy defeats and conceded 4 goals in each of them.
- The Potters failed to win in their last three games in the league and have only one win to show for, from their last 6 games.
- Away from home, Stoke City are undefeated in 3 of their last 4 matches, with 2 wins and 1 draw.
Manchester City: Team News
Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna are injured, which means with Kolarov and Zabaleta as wing backs.
Both Fabian Delph and Samir Nasri are in contention for a start as Pellegrini looks to rest David Silva and Sergio Aguero ahead of the key Champions League tie against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Raheem Sterling and Vincent Kompany are expected to start from bench as both are yet to attain full fitness.
Manchester City: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Kolarov, Otamendi, Mangala, Zabaleta,
Nasri, Navas, Bruyne,
Stoke City: Team News
Xherdan Shaqiri has picked up a kiock in the 4-0 defeat against Tottenham and he will join Jack Butland, Glen Johnson and Jonathan Walters on the sidelines.
Marc Wilson is recovering well, but won’t be available until the next weekend. Erik Pieters is suspended and will be serving the last of his two match ban against Manchester City.
Stoke City: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Muniesa, Wollschied, Shawcross, Cameron,
Arnautovic, Afellay, Bojan,
Manchester City vs Stoke City: Head-to-Head
The teams share two wins each from their last 5 meetings in the league, while one match end in a draw.
Stoke City have won 1-0 in their last trip to Etihad in the same fixture of last season’s English Premier League, with the only goal coming from Mame Biram Diouf.
However, Manchester City haven’t lost to Stoke in the 9 home matches prior to that, which reads 8 wins and 1 draw.
In the reverse fixture of this season’s Premier League, Stoke were victorious by 2 goals to nil, Marko Arnautovic scoring both the goals from fine assists by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Manchester City vs Stoke City: Prediction
This is a must win match for Manchester City and despite being unbeaten in their last four matches, their performances are hardly convincing. This will be a risky affair if Pellegrini chose to rest majority of his key players with the Champions League semis against Real Madrid in sight.
Stoke City are extremely poor lately, but they are a highly unpredictable side. On paper, they do not have a chance to win against City and I believe Mark Hughes will be setting out to frustrate their opponents on Sunday afternoon. Moreover, the Potters have nothing to play for and there will be less pressure on them.
If Pellegrini rests key players, this will go down as a draw and I believe he will do that as Champions League title is his first priority. If Aguero, Silva and Sterling makes to the team sheet, alongside the inform Kevin De Bruyne, we are very likely to see another 4-0 thrashing of Stoke City.