Micah Richards is still sidelined with injury, but it is a generally positive outlook as far as injuries are concerned. Maicon has had another week of training behind him, whilst Jack Rodwell is now pushing for a start after being named on the bench last weekend against Fulham. Joleon Lescott has been selected ahead of Matija Nastasic for both fixtures against Stoke this season and I’d expect that to be the case again on Saturday.
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Javi Garcia scored on his debut earlier this season at the Britannia Stadium and his physicality is likely to be called upon once again alongside Gareth Barry. Whilst the Spaniard lacks positional awareness, a decent passing range and any semblance of pace, he can most certainly head a ball and his aerial power will be useful. James Milner’s workrate can expect to keep Samir Nasri on the bench. Up front, the only issue is whether Sergio Aguero replaces Carlos Tévez. I’d expect Kun, now fully fit after injury, to start alongside Edin Dzeko.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
Referee: Howard Webb – Regarded as the Premier League’s top referee, he has officiated City twice this season, once on the opening day of the campaign when we defeated Southampton 3-2 and the other occasion was our goalless trip to Upton Park to face West Ham.
Prediction: Stoke 1 – 1 MAN CITY – It’s always very tight when City visit the Britannia and it’s one of the few grounds where Roberto Mancini has not been victorious. Goals to be scored by Peter Crouch and Sergio Aguero.
William Hill have some excellent odds for this match: Peter Crouch to score the first goal and the match to finish 1-1 is enormously tempting at 66/1. Vincent Kompany is an astonishing 34/1 to score the first goal!