Stoke City v Manchester City: Five players under the spotlight

Stoke City Britannia Stadium

For anyone visiting the Britannia Stadium it will not be easy to come away with all three points.

We will see if they can have the same effect under new boss Mark Hughes but you can still expect a physical approach from Stoke, they will try and unsettle Man City and force them into mistakes.

After losing away to Cardiff in August Pellegrini’s team cannot afford to drop too many more points to bottom half teams if they want to put together a title winning season.

Odds: Stoke City 5/1, Draw 3/1, Manchester City 4/6

Last meeting

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City– Britannia Stadium, 15th September 2012

A close but unmemorable game that ended in the teams sharing the points. Peter Crouch put the home side ahead early on but Javi Garcia, who had just signed from Benfica leveled for the Champions.

The game was notable for former manager Roberto Mancini complaining about Stoke’s style of football, he was upset by the manner of their first goal he labeled it a ‘basketball goal’.

Five players to watch on Saturday:

Marko Arnautovic

Stoke’s deadline day signing is an interesting character and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has on the team. The striker will look to add some much needed goals, they will be in a relegation fight this year and the Austrian could be a key signing if they want to remain in the Premier League.

Joe Hart

England’s number one has come under some criticism so far this season, as he has committed a number of errors that have led directly to goals. He will be out to prove a point over the next few months to show that he is worthy of a place in both Manchester City’s team and Roy Hodgson’s England. He will no doubt be test by Stoke whose combination of physical play and set pieces can cause any goalkeeper problems.

Yaya Toure

The Ivorian midfielder has had an outstanding start to the season and we will be able to see if he can carry on this form this weekend. Scoring from two free kicks, one against Hull and one versus Newcastle, has made him a dangerous weapon from set pieces anywhere near the penalty area. His powerful play will help combat against Stoke’s style of play.

Matija Nastasic

The young City defender will be under pressure this week after injuries have left Manchester City’s defense very weak. They haven’t looked their usual solid selves since Vincent Kompany suffered a groin injury in the opening match. It will be a concern for the manager but he will be expecting the Serbian to rediscover his form from last season.

Asmir Begovic

The in demand goalkeeper stayed put during the transfer window despite reported interest from Manchester United and Arsenal. He had an outstanding performance against Liverpool in their opening games. He will have to be on top form on Saturday with all the attacking power Manchester City possess, if Stoke are to take anything from the game Begovic will be key.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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