MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) – Defending champions Manchester City will have their hands full in Tuesday’s Barclays Premier League game with Stoke City at Etihad Stadium.
Tony Pulis Stoke side has that never say die attitude and it showed over the weekend when it came from 3-1 down to earn a point in the most unlikely manner against Southampton.
And if you follow the odds and last few meetings between these two teams, it would be a safe bet to say that this one is heading for a draw.
According to the statisticians, four of the last six Premier League meetings, including the last two between Stoke and Manchester City, have ended in 1-1 draws, but the defending champs have been very good at home in this fixture.
City’s Yaya Toure has come out to say teams are beginning to figure out the champions and it is believed that Pulis has already found the master plan to break down the title hunters.
Roberto Mancini City side will be without attacking midfielder Samir Nasri, who will start his three match ban for his sending-off at Norwich over the weekend.
Also expected to be missing is striker Mario Balotelli, who is still to recover from a virus and fullbacks Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon who are also sidelined because of injuries.
Meanwhile, Stoke will be very happy to have defenders Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron both back after serving one-match suspensions and missed the Southampton 3-3 thriller.
Michael Owen and Peter Crouch will again start on the bench, with Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones likely to keep their starting places.
Event: BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 1 January, 2013
Live TV: Sky Sports 1 HD
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PREDICTION: Manchester City 1 vs Stoke 1
Manchester City vs Stoke City Teams:
Manchester City squad: Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Lescott, K Toure, Clichy, Rekik, Silva, Milner, Sinclair, Y Toure, Barry, Garcia, Tevez, Aguero, Dzeko, Razak.
Stoke squad: Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Cameron, Huth, Upson, Wilkinson, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Kightly, Etherington, Jones, Sorensen, Whitehead, Crouch, Jerome, Adam, Palacios, Owen.