In-form Manchester City will hope to make it five wins on the trot in the Premier League when they take on Stoke City in the mid-week fixture. Pep Guardiola’s side had a dip in form a few months ago after a bright start but are peaking at the right time. With the season at a crucial stage now, they can ill-afford to take their foot off the gas.
City’s clash against Monaco was pretty fast-paced and many presumed that it won’t be smooth sailing in the following two fixtures. They came up against a sturdy Sunderland side this past weekend but did enough to win the game and close the gap on Chelsea who later reopened their lead after comfortably beating West Ham last night.
City’s upcoming opponents Stoke City put aside their nightmarish defeat at the hands of Spurs by overcoming a toothless Middlesbrough side. The win took them back into the top half of the table. They still have the top eight in sight but will have to be more consistent if they are to overtake West Brom who have been solid until now.
Stoke do have some quality players in their squad and will hope to put a better performance than they did in the reverse fixture. Manchester City were breathing fire at the time and eased past Mark Hughes’ side thanks to braces from Sergio Aguero and Nolito. Guardiola will hope his team puts in a similarly clinical performance. Here’s the line-up he is expected to use against the Potters.
Manchester City’s defending wasn’t top notch against Sunderland. You can argue it hasn’t been good for quite some time now, actually. The duo of Kolarov and Stones are likely to continue at the back. Sagna and Clichy will play as the full-backs. The continuity might help them a bit although they still don’t seem to be on the same page while defending. Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero has done a remarkable job since taking over from Claudio Bravo and he is expected to keep his place in the team.
Yaya Toure could get a breather which will mean Fernandinho will play as the deepest of the midfielders. Kevin De Bruyne was used as a sub in the last game and is expected to start this time around in place of Toure. He is likely to partner David Silva in the attacking midfield.
Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling were pretty elusive in the final third against Sunderland and the fans will hope they can continue their good form. The same can be said about Aguero who has quashed all the talks of his bad form with crucial goals. He’ll lead the line and will want to increase his goal tally which currently stands at 12 in the League.