Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Manchester City
Venue: Bet365 Stadium – Saturday, August 20 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)
Match Odds: Stoke City 19/5 – Draw 14/5 – Manchester City 7/10
Stoke will feel disappointed with the opening day draw with Middlesbrough. Albeit a tricky away trip to a newly promoted team, Mark Hughes will feel like his side could have potentially come away with three points.
It will be a huge task for Stoke to try and improve on last year with the only notable signing thus far being Joe Allen from Liverpool. Their respectable total of 51 points last season will be a tough tally to beat.
However, consistency may be key for the Potters as they have managed to avoid any major exits and are looking to bolster their squad as far as we are aware. A mid-table finish would be a good season for Stoke this year.
Manchester City have spent big to support Pep Guardiola’s quest for a debut season Premier League title and the bookmakers have them as favourites at the moment.
A dominant display against Sunderland last Saturday was expected but they were far from convincing in the final third, which is not a common fate in Guardiola sides.
However, the main talking point from the opening weekend was the omission of Joe Hart from the starting line up, which has seen the rumours of an imminent move doing the rounds.
Guardiola’s arrival promises excitement and a forward thinking approach that should refresh the league as a whole, but he risks destabilising a well-assembled squad with big decisions like the Hart omission.
Stoke City’s Stephen Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay are out till the new year with a broken leg and a ruptured ACL respectively. Glen Johnson has a thigh muscle strain and the game comes to soon for his return. Jack Butland could make his return from an ankle injury that kept him out of the Euros, but he is a doubt.
Manchester City have three injuries to deal with as Leroy Sane is still without a return date on his hamstring. Vincent Kompany is still out with a thigh strain and Ilkay Gundogan has a knee injury. Joe Hart is expected to stay on the bench with a move seeming closer by the day.
Stoke City’s form: D
Manchester City’s form: W
Key Stat: Sergio Aguero has scored six goals in his six appearances against Stoke City.
Key Player: Raheem Sterling – After a Euros to forget for the young England winger, he was clearly out to impress on his new manager’s debut. It will be interesting to see if he can fulfil his full potential under Pep Guardiola.
Stoke City 1-3 Manchester City – Stoke away is always a tough ask, but City’s dominance in possession last weekend should provide an indication for how this game will be played. Expect Stoke to be a threat on the counter but City should win comfortably.