Date: 16th February 2010 at 9:45am
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City are now entering a season defining run of 4 fixtures that will surely decide our season’s destiny. Despite numerous absences, The Blues must prevail at Stoke…

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:

‘It will be hard for us because Stoke are dangerous at free-kicks and throw-ins. We must prepare very well and we must pay more attention in these situations. If we want to go up the table, we need to change our mentality.

‘But I think we will be ready for a fight. This is a tough period, but at the moment, all I am thinking about is Stoke. In the last 15 minutes on Saturday, we shot too many balls in the air. We must continue to play on the pitch.’

Tony Pulis:

‘We need our support now. The support of the team now is vital for us. We have got to make sure they are really up for it.

‘It is going to be two very tough games. We wanted to win on Saturday. We were on our front foot and we were a little bit unlucky. But it was a great result for us. We would have loved to have done it in one, it would have eased the pressure.

‘But my players don’t give up, they are a great group of players who work very hard. You get astounded at times at the effort and commitment they put in. Every time the players come off the pitch you know they have given it 100%.’

Paddy Vieira:

‘The physical aspect of England is different. I was at Arsenal for nine years, and a lot of my game is based on the physical aspect.

‘In Italy it was difficult and it was different, and that is why I am pleased to come back. There are no teams like Stoke in Italy.

‘But they play with quality, all credit to them. They are difficult opponents, even if you know the way they are going to play. They do not make it easy for you, and they battle for the 90 minutes. You have to win the battle before you can play football.

‘They beat Arsenal and they frustrate a lot of teams. It is part of the English game and I enjoy it. The manager has indicated he wants me to play every week and I am looking forward to that. I just have to build up my fitness.’

Salif Diao:

‘I think it (aerial bombardment) is one of our weapons and we need to use it. It is working so we need to carry on using it. I think the Britannia, as everyone knows, is a very hard ground to come to.

‘I can’t see any players saying they like to come to the Britannia because they all know what to expect – it will a hard battle. We need to make sure we don’t disappoint them when they come.’

VMC City Video Link: Mancio Previews Stoke Trip In His Office

Stoke City Team News:

In form Matthew Etherington is out for two weeks after the excellent midfielder suffered a knee injury at Eastlands.

Andy Wilkinson who was savaged by SWP and Liam Lawrence are expected to overcome their injuries sustained in Manchester. Abdoulaye Faye and Dean Whitehead are likely to return to strengthen Pulis’s hand.

Player to watch: Rory Delap

Who else? In the absence of Etherington, the long high ball will come even more into it’s own tonight and Delap’s arms will become crucial.

City will have to be seriously sharp and a lot less ‘zonal’ in their defence of the airborne missiles tonight.

Manchester CITY Team News:

The absence of Vincent Kompany alone constitutes a crisis for this fixture. His commanding presence at the back will be sorely missed yet again as his groin injury persists.

Knowing that the combative Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy are also out will have The Potters sensing blood.

Rigsby Petrov’s battered knees are playing up again and he’s doubtful. SWP and Ireland were very sore on Saturday night but should be ok. Micah Richards could be back in contention. Adam Johnson should start. He’s been one of the few bright spots in a difficult fortnight at SportCity.

Player to watch: Patrick Vieira

Surely Vieira must start tonight. His role and the added dimension of height will be critical against resurgent Stoke and their basketball tactics.

He is getting fitter by the day and his very presence at the heart of the midfield is enough to unsettle any opposition.

The World Cup winner has a crucial role to play as City go into a tough run of important fixtures. This is a time for leaders. Take note, Kolo Toure.

Match Facts & Stats

The Potters are unbeaten in 8 games across all competitions.

City have won 5 of the last six league games against Stoke.

The Blues last won at the Britannia Stadium in 1999. In the third division.

Stoke have lost one of their last 10 games at home across all competitions.
City have lost 5 games across all competitions this season.

Current City Striking Records: Carlos Tevez, who unfortunately remains in Argentina has scored 19 goals in 27 City starts. Emmanuel Adebayor has scored 9 goals in 19 City starts.

Follow the action and debate Live in the VMC Match Day Forum!:
MATCHDAY THREAD: Stoke City vs Man City – Tuesday Feb 16th – KO: 19:45 UK Time

Ref Watch:

A G Wiley (Staffordshire)
Here comes our old pal Wiley again. Never far from controversy, this will be his third game in charge of The Citizens away from home in this campaign. The draw at Wigan and the thrashing at the hands of Spurs. Now for Stoke. He will need to be strong with bodies going down all over the park tonight. I predict a sending off and a good chance of a penalty. Should easily clear 100 bookings this season.Current season record: Games:26, Yellow Cards:82 Red Cards:3

Match Prediction:

I sense that this is going to be dreadful again. There’s absolutely no point in trying to big this game up. A selection of City’s finest footballers will be absent and should City get sucked in and decide to again take on Stoke at their own physical air ball game, then yet another abysmal spectacle will be on the agenda. It’s a vitally important game for The Blues ahead of league clashes against Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs and we must get something from it at the very least. I predict that unless City get it on the deck and keep it there whilst livening up our set piece delivery, we are at risk of a Hull style defeat or both sides cancelling each other out.
Johnny On The Spot: Stoke 1 CITY 1

Next Fixtures:

H: Liverpool, Sun 21 Feb 15h00 GMT
A: Stoke City FAC5R, Wed 24 Feb 19h45 GMT
A: Chelsea, Sat 27 Feb 12h45 GMT
H: Spurs, Sat 6 March 12h45 GMT


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