After three long months, Stoke City are finally back home tomorrow!
Stoke City will play their first game at the newly-titled, bet365 Stadium, and what better opposition to welcome to town that Pep Guardiola’s men?
Stoke City vs Manchester City:
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016
Venue: the bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.
Latest betting odds (bet365):
Stoke: 19/4 Draw: 14/5 Manchester City: 7/10
Our prediction: Stoke to win, and BTTS: 8/1
Long-shot: A repeat of last season’s game, Marko Arnautovic to score first, and Stoke to win 2-0 – 90/1
Stoke City Preview:
Last Saturday was a first for Stoke City under Mark Hughes, it was the first season that Hughes’ men finished the opening game without defeat (Liverpool, Aston Villa, Liverpool).
It was a solid start for Stoke, in a game where many feared without Jack Butland, that Stoke would crumble under such a momentous occasion for Middlesbrough.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s excellent second half free kick cancelled out Alvaro Negredo’s early goal and got Stoke off the mark for the 2016/17 campaign.
Stoke will go into tomorrow’s game hopefully full of belief that they can repeat last December’s monumental victory over City, where on the day Stoke felt disappointed that they didn’t finish City by more on the day.
There is a negative for Hughes tomorrow, as Xherdan Shaqiri faces a late fitness test, and Jack Butland is still expected to miss tomorrow’s game, and with the in-form City rocking up, he certainly could have done with Jack between the sticks.
Hughes may opt to go for the much talked about, ‘false-nine’ formation tomorrow, which would see Joe Allen replacing Mame Biram Diouf, as Hughes would go with a three-man-midfield to allow Whelan, Imbula and Allen try to solidify the midfield where Pep usually likes to dominate the game through.
With the possibility of no Shaqiri, that could push Hughes to hand Ramadan Sobhi his Premier League debut in front of a packed bet365 Stadium.
That system would leave Bojan Krkic through the middle, someone Guardiola will remember from his time at Barca. The striker issue still hasn’t been resolved by Hughes, who admitted to the Club’s official website, ‘may drag on into the final week of the window.’
Stoke City Match Facts [bbc sport]:
- Stoke have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 11 league games. They have conceded 37 Premier League goals in 2016 – more than any other side currently in the top flight.
- Their only win in the last five home matches came against West Ham on the final day of the 2015-16 season.
- Mark Hughes has lost six of his 10 Premier League games against Manchester City since he was sacked as their manager. However, his two wins have both come in the last two seasons.
- Peter Crouch has scored in three of his four Premier League appearances against Manchester City at the bet365 Stadium.
Stoke City predicted line-up:
Given, Bardsley, Wollscheid, Shawcross, Pieters; Imbula, Allen, Whelan; Arnautovic, Bojan, Sobhi.
Manchester City Preview:
It’s been a wonderful week for Pep!
He saw his Manchester City side’s character as they snatched the victory in his first home match in the Premier League against Sunderland, before destroying Steaua Bucuresti 5-0 in the week, a game where in all honesty City should have won by double figures.
The bang in-form Sergio Aguero will relish the news that Jack Butland is injured, as he aims to add to his goal tally of four in two this season already (if only we had that sort of striker!)
It’s not been all good for everyone in the City camp, though. Joe Hart has been told by Pep Guardiola that he is not the first choice keeper, and he will leave Manchester this month, as Pep will seemingly bring in Claudio Bravo from his former club, Barcelona.
It’ll be an acid test for Guardiola tomorrow, as he certainly won’t have experienced anything like he will do tomorrow, and it will be a real test of his side’s credentials to win the Premier League.
Manchester City Match Facts: [bbc sport]:
- City have only won four of their last 16 Premier League away games (W4, D7, L5). Eight clubs have earned more points on their travels during the same period.
- Pep Guardiola’s side had 77% ball possession against Sunderland last week, the most by any team in the opening round of matches.
- Sergio Aguero is the Premier League’s top scorer in 2016 with 18 goals in 19 appearances. He has scored six league goals in as many games against Stoke.
Manchester City predicted line-up:
Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho, Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne, Nolito, Aguero.
Our prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Manchester City.