Stoke City - Manchester City Preview: Citizens looking to hold on to top spot
Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

Manchester City will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table when they take on their bogey team, Stoke City, in the lunchtime kick-off.

On course

Despite some unusual form of late City are well on course across all three silverware fronts so far into the season.

They suffered successive defeats towards the end of November with their 1-0 defeat to Juventus and their 4-1 drubbing by Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool but despite that have already secured a place in last 16 of Europe’s elite competition and remain top of the table.

They have returned to form in the past week with a 3-1 victory last weekend over Southamptonand goals from Wilfried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho and Kevin de Bruyne gave them a 4-1 win over Hull and set up a Capital One Cup semi-final tie with Everton.

Unhappy hunting ground

The Britannia Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Manuel Pellegrini’s side since the Potters gained promotion to the top flight of English football way back in 2008.

In their seven matches at the ground City have managed just three points in that time which came in the last time these two sides met back in February.

Goals from Sergio Aguero, James Milner and Samir Nasri cancelled out Peter Crouch’s giving them a comfortable 4-1 victory and Pellegrini will be hoping for much of the same this time around.

Sergio Aguero and his team-mates will want a repeat performance from last season's meeting.
Sergio Aguero and his team-mates will want a repeat performance from last season's meeting.

Super Stoke

Despite a very slow start to the campaign for the Potters Mark Hughes' side have managed to turn it all around and have managed five wins and a draw in their last eight matches.

Like their opponents they managed to reach the Capital One Cup semi-finals midweek as goals from Ibrahim Afellay and Phil Bardsley gave them a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday to put them in the final four for the first time in 43 years.

Frustrating black cats

Hughes will be expecting his side to bounce back in the league after goals from Patrick Van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore gave Sunderland a 2-0 win and ended the Potters four-game unbeaten run.

Team news

There are quite some significant absentees in Pellegrini’s starting XI with Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart both remaining on the sidelines. Eliaquim Mangala will also be missing through suspension.

The forward trio of de Bruyne, Aguero and David Silva depending on the fitness of the latter two with the Spaniard making his first start in two months midweek and the Argentine striker picking up a knock against the Saints last week.

Ryan Shawcross is set to return in the heart of the defence after serving his suspension midweek but Peter Crouch should be out after only lasting 15 minutes on his last appearance. Mame Biram Diouf could make his return to provide cover John Walters.

Stoke City will host Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, December 5 with kick-off at 12:45pm BST.

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