MCFC v Stoke
Saturday 31st January 2009
Manchester City have been in the papers for all the wrong reasons.
While City are fighting a losing battle in the press, Stoke fight a losing battle to stay in the top flight.
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes stated: 'Our away form is not as good as our home form, which you can reasonably expect, but we should have picked up more points on our travels given the games we have played.
'We have to look to be positive against Stoke, it's going to be difficult because they have a real, physical presence.
'But we can cause problems in different ways with our movement and technical ability so we're hopeful we can cause Stoke problems, and get on the track of winning away games in the league.'
Tony Pulis said of Manchester City and the game: 'They've got some top players and it's brilliant for us as a football club to be playing against these teams.
'If we're not on our game, then we know we can get punished, but if we are on it and we play together then we can get results off anyone.'
Manchester City Team News:
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Pablo Zabaleta hope to shake off midweek knocks while Manchester City are without suspended skipper Richard Dunne who serves a four match ban.
Player to watch: Rory Delap
Delap is a former schoolboy javelin champion and his throw-ins will be difficult to cope with for a Manchester City defence that doesn't fair well in set pieces.
Stoke City Team News:
Tony Pulis desperately needs to end Stoke's slide and could throw Ricardo Fuller back into the frey following a subsitute appearance against fellow relegation stugglers Tottenham after his recent ban for slapping team-mate Andy Griffin.
Andy Wilkinson is expercted to be replaced by Andy Griffin at right-back, while Abdoulaye Faye is a doubt after contracting the flu.
Player to watch: Robinho
After his hattrick heroics in the previous Stoke clash, Robinho will be hoping to hit the headlines again with a more cheerful tone than those of this week.
Match Facts & Stats
Stoke have not won in nine league matches.
Stephen 'Superman' Ireland will be making his 100th start for Manchester City.
48 yellow cards in 15 matches for referee Martin Atkinson and no red cards. Lets hope he can continue his red card count for another game.
I expect a closely fought game with Stoke fighting for their lives. Manchester City's recent form has been churning out results and I think that the long awaited consistency will continue. MCFC 1-0 Stoke
Middlesbrough at home on Saturday 7th February with a 12.45pm kick off.