League leaders Manchester City face a tough lunchtime test on Saturday as they travel to a Stoke side hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing defeat at Sunderland.
The hosts’ inconsistency has held them back so far this season, as they have won five and lost five of their 14 games. Their traditionally strong home form has also not been evident in 2015/16, with Mark Hughes’ side winning just two of their six matches at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters are also struggling in front of goal; their tally of 11 goals is the worst in the entire Premier League. Only four players – Marko Arnautovic, Mame Diouf, Bojan and Jon Walters – have found the net this season.
Stoke are looking to claim their first win at home against this weekend’s opponents since 2009, when a James Beattie goal on the stroke of half-time secured a 1-0 win.
Manchester City climbed back to the Premier League’s summit last weekend with a routine home victory over Southampton, and will put the pressure on their rivals at the top if they can claim three points in the early kick-off.
For all of the visitors’ attacking prowess, just seven of their 30 goals have come away from home – though their tally of four goals conceded on the road is a league-best.
City cruised past Hull in the Capital One Cup in midweek to reach the semi-finals as they aim to win the competition for the second time in three years, and Manuel Pellegrini’s side need to carry on where they left off if they are to avoid a slip-up in the Potteries.
Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross is available after he served his one-match suspension for his dismissal at Sunderland last week in the Capital One Cup quarter-final win over Sheffield Wednesday, but Peter Crouch is out with a hamstring injury.
For the visitors, Joe Hart is back to full fitness and should start in goal, while David Silva may also be named in the starting line-up for the first time since October.
However, they will be missing Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Samir Nasri through injury, and Eliaquim Mangala through suspension.
League Position: Stoke – 12th (19 pts); Manchester City – 1st (29 pts)
Last Meeting: Stoke 1-4 Manchester City (February 11, 2015)
Form: Stoke – WLDWWL; Manchester City – WDWDLW
Key Players: Stoke – Bojan; Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne
Shoot Says: Stoke 1-2 Manchester City