Date: 1st January 2013 at 2:53am
Written by:

Happy New Year Planet Blue! Stoke City are about to let the new year in at the Etihad Stadium…

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:
‘I am happy with my strikers because last season they scored more than anyone else in the Premier League. Tevez is strong and so are Sergio and Edin. It is important that they work hard, as they did at Norwich and at Sunderland – the strikers have been playing well but have just been missing a goal. We have had four or five games where we have played like we did at Norwich – for example West Ham, Chelsea, Sunderland. They were all games we deserved to win but lost points because we didn`t score.’

Tony Pulis:
‘This is a bonus game for us. We will need a hell of a lot to go for us if we are to get a result from this match. Everybody knows it’s going to be a tough, tough game with all the resources that make them one of the top clubs in Europe. But we’ll go there with the same spirit and commitment which we have shown throughout this run and really give it a go.’

Manchester City Team News:

Aleksander Kolarov
Micah Richards
Jack Rodwell
John Guidetti
Mario Balotelli

City (from): Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Lescott, K Toure, Clichy, Rekik, Nasri, Silva, Milner, Sinclair, Y Toure, Barry, Garcia, Tevez, Aguero, Dzeko, Razak.

Player to watch: Edin Dzeko

Dzeko answered a fair few critics at Norwich with a blistering display full of power and swagger. It will be interesting to see if that effort realises a run in the City side that could see him add further to his 24 goals in 62 Premier League appearances. His muscle will be needed against Stoke.

Stoke City Team News:

Full Strength

Stoke (from): Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Cameron, Huth, Upson, Wilkinson, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Kightly, Etherington, Jones, Sorensen, Whitehead, Crouch, Jerome, Adam, Palacios, Owen.

Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones

Jones has hit the back of the net in 3 of his last 4 appearances, following a long barren period that stretched for 27 league games without scoring. He’s certain to pose a serious threat to Kompany and Nastasic in particular.

Match Facts & Stats

The Blues have won all 4 previous New Year’s Day Premier League home games.

City have recovered 15 points from losing positions so far this season in comparison to the rags 24. Everton with 17 are the only other side with the greater comeback haul.

Stoke are unbeaten in 10 league games. City with 15 games are the only other club to have registered such a run so far in this campaign.

Stoke have lost just 3 games this season. Only City and Everton have fared better with 2.

The Citizens have scored 18 goals less after 20 games than at this time last season. The Blues are also 6 points in arrears on a similar score.

League: 30 Stoke Wins, 21 Draws, 36 City Wins
League Cup: 2 Stoke Wins, 1 Draw, 3 City Wins
FA Cup: 3 Stoke Wins, 1 Draw, 3 City Wins
Total: 35 Stoke Wins, 23 Draws, 43 City Wins

Sa 15Sep 2012 Stoke 1 – 1 Man City PL
Sa 24Mar 2012 Stoke 1 – 1 Man City PL
We 21Dec 2011 Man City 3 – 0 Stoke PL
Tu 17May 2011 Man City 3 – 0 Stoke PL
Sa 14May 2011 Man City 1 – 0 Stoke
Sa 27Nov 2010 Stoke 1 – 1 Man City PL

Despite Stoke having returned a block of their tickets in SS Lower for the New Year opener, the game is sold out.

BETTING: City 1/4 Draw 9/2 Stoke 11Racing Post Soccerbase



CLASSIC CITY TUBE: Manchester City v Stoke City, 29th March 1969

Ref Watch:

M Oliver from Northumberland 4th Official J Moss -Last Season: Su 12Feb 2012 Aston Villa 0 – 1 Man City -This Season: Su 11Nov 2012 Man City 2 – 1Tottenham -2011/12: 36 Games, 94 Yellows, 4 Reds -2012/2013: 19 Games, 47 Yellows, 1Red.

Match Prediction:

Johnny On The Spot:
This will be a tough nut for City to crack. The word uncompromising is very often the word used to describe Stoke City under Tony Pulis and as 2013 dawns with The Potters 7 points away from a top four place off the back of a 10 game unbeaten run, it’s clear Pulis has got his men firing in advance of facing his Manchester City nemesis. Pulis and City go back a long way to third tier play off finals and you sense he tends to raise his game that bit more when taking on The Blues who will have to be ready to rumble for this one. Mancio’s team showed real commitment and steel in striving to win with 10 men at Norwich whereas Stoke will go into this encounter buoyed by a thrilling fightback against Southampton. Much has been made of Mancio’s squad tinkering this season, yet ironically a continuing mini bus of injuries is forcing him into naming the type of settled side that realised a title winning run. It’s this factor that I expect to tip the balance in the champions favour for a repeat of the scoreline Mancio opened his City account with a little over 3 years ago. City 2 Stoke 0

Next Fixtures:

all times East Manchester
Sa 05Jan 15h00 Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL


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