Premier League – Stoke City v Manchester City Preview
You can’t fault Manchester City’s home form but their recent efforts on the road must be a major concern to Roberto Mancini and his staff and they’ll have to get to the root of the problem if they want to keep up their title push.
The Sky Blues have never won at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League, with the last two meetings between the sides in the Potteries ending in 1-1 draws and that result can be backed again at 6/1. Manchester City kept their amazing run at the Etihad going in midweek – but only just. They trailed Chelsea well into the final quarter until rescued by a Sergio Aguero penalty and a late strike from Samir Nasri, set up by the returning Carlos Tevez. The latter will probably continue his gradual re-integration into the squad from the bench at the Britannia but he’ll be needed sooner rather than later if his team’s recent away form is anything to go by. They’ve lost at Sunderland, Everton and Swansea since the turn of the year and are now playing catch-up with arch-rivals United in the title race. Stoke are not a team you want to visit when a positive result is needed, though it’s fair to say they haven’t been quite as effective at home this season as in previous years.
There’s little to play for now for Tony Pulis’ team after they crashed out of the FA Cup at Anfield last week. But they still put in a spirited performance at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night when only a last-minute goal denied them all three points against high-flying Spurs. This is the last of a tricky set of fixtures for Stoke but they haven’t let themselves down against several of the Premier League’s top sides and have won their last two games at home in the league without conceding a goal.
Captain Vincent Kompany could return for the visitors having missed their last few games but Joleon Lescott is still missing from the heart of the defence and City have looked less secure in his absence. Stoke revel in upsetting the apple cart and look a decent bet at 5/1 to further dent their opponents’ title hopes with a win. They are 13/2 to win by a one-goal margin.