Eyes will be firmly on Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City after two performances that have much to be desired, and he takes his team to the character testing Brittania Stadium.
Stoke find themselves sitting on two wins from three games – not many fans could have asked for more from new manager Mark Hughes. The loan signing of Stephan Ireland shows Hughes’ intention to keep adapting the football style of the Potters, and he could be instrumental for them this year. Hughes has strengthened the squad without spending big, and if they keep beating the teams around them while making the Brittania a fortress could surprise a few this season.
Pellegrini on the other hand spent almost £90m on players over the summer, and after it seemed a match made in heaven following an opening day demolition of Newcastle, performances since then have waivered. New boys Cardiff exposed City’s soft under belly, while fellow promoted team Hull proved they aren’t invincible at home even if they didn’t win. This game will show what the side’s character is really about, and while it is early in the season, the Chilean will be looking for a big performance from a few of his stars.
The home side have no definite injury problems, but there will be checks made on the fitness of three players. Charlie Adam is nursing a, knock while Kenwyne Jones and Glen Whelan are looking to overcome an ankle and a hamstring injury.
City’s defensive concerns will continue as captain Vincent Kompany continues to be out with a groin injury. New man Martin Demichelis, brought in to cover injury problems, injured a knee in training and will also miss out, as will Micah Richards as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. David Silva has a slight thigh problem but should be fit to make the trip.
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