Manuel Pellegrini faces a selection poser as he looks to inject energy and confidence into his exhausted side. Those who started against Barcelona were stretched and made to hurry and harry in their attempts to close down the Spaniards and by the final whistle, there were some shattered legs. The manager, therefore, will aim to introduce some freshness and vitality to the side whilst also retaining a measure of quality.
Micah Richards is a candidate to feature in place of Pablo Zabaleta, while Martin Demichelis’s one-match ban only applies to European competitions, meaning he can partner Vincent Kompany once more. Aleks Kolarov is likely to get the nod on the left of defence ahead of Gael Clichy.
Fernandinho was rushed back from injury to face Barcelona and with Javi Garcia ready to step into the midfield, the Brazilian could drop down to the bench in order to rest his weary limbs. Samir Nasri was introduced from the bench in midweek and he’s a near-certainty to start against Stoke, as are Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko. James Milner is another who will hope to get the nod, perhaps in place of David Silva.
Here is the side Pellegrini could select:
Referee: Chris Foy.
Prediction: MAN CITY 2 – 0 Stoke – I’d guess we won’t see the same levels of enthusiasm and relentless desire to bomb forward as we have enjoyed on so many occasions this season, and with Stoke likely to be resolute in their defensive efforts, it might take a while before we pick the lock and open the door. Given a touch of patience, nonetheless, we should flitter to victory with goals to be scored by Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri.