Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday February 12 2010
The City of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 13th February 2010
A crucial week in City's season begins with the first part of the Stoke League and FA Cup double header. Expect fireworks...
"Now I know all the players here very well, I know their qualities in my mind. I have to decide before a game if it is better for the team to play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, whether to play Stevie or Shaun or somebody else. If I decide, then he plays. It's easy! But if we want to become an important squad we must work harder and we must BECOME a squad. One player or manager is not important, it is the club that is important, the squad that is important."
'I am looking to pick a positive team and go there to have a right go..The game on Saturday is an important one for us and the 5,000 or 6,000 supporters who will make the trip. They will want to see the team have a go and we'll want to give it a go. If you can catch it right it is a knockout competition and a one-off game.'
'If Carlos can score 30 goals and I only score a few, I'll be more than happy. Because if Carlos and his goals help us to win things, I'll be very happy for us all. We still have a chance to be at Wembley in the FA Cup and are in the running for fourth place in the Premier League. We will keep going and enjoy ourselves. We want to keep that dream.'
VMC City Video Link: Mancini Stoke Press Conference
Craig Bellamy will be rested again following his successful meeting with a knee specialist in London. The speedy striker is likely to be further held back for the visit of Liverpool next weekend.
Worryingly, Vincent Kompany's groin injury has persisted and he is a doubt. Kolo Toure is fit despite being substituted during the win over Bolton.
Joleon Lescott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Martin Pterov and Nedum Onuoha are all pushing for a start.
OUT: Santa Cruz, Johnson, Richards.
CUP TIED: Adam Johnson.
For the second game running, I'm singling out the intriguing spectacle of World Cup winner Vieira in a City shirt for special attention.
It's typical of the man that he pushed himself through 95 minutes against uncompromising Bolton after a lengthy lay off and his through ball to set up Adebayor's crucial goal showed that he has lost none of his vision.
His role and the added dimension of his height will be critical against resurgent Stoke.
Pulis has a selection headache up front with Tuncay and Ricardo Fuller both in contention to lead the line.
The Potters (from): Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Wilkinson, Amdy Faye, Higginbotham, Collins, Lawrence, Sidibe, Whitehead, Delap, Diao, Kitson, Beattie, Etherington, Fuller, Tuncay, Pugh, Whelan, Simonsen, Begovic.
Stoke's Number 26 is in great form and will need to be stifled for City to control this encounter.
The winger's contract extension talks have stalled but his form certainly hasn't. Like City's Adam Johnson who is cup tied for this one, an outside chance of making Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.
The Potters are unbeaten this year in 7 games across all competitions.
If City beat Stoke, it will seal The Citizen's 3rd FA Cup Quarter Final in 5 years. The Potters have not reached that stage for 38 years.
Current City Striking Records: Carlos Tevez has scored 19 goals in 27 City starts. Emmanuel Adebayor has scored 9 goals in 18 City starts.
Ade is The Blues form player with 3 goals in his last 3 games.
City have not lost at Eastlands all season and have won their last 8 games at home.
Stoke have not won a game at Maine Road or Eastlands since 1997.
Follow the cup action Live in the VMC Match Day Forum:
MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City vs Stoke City in the FA Cup - Sat Feb 13 - KO: 17:15 UK Time
VMC and Stoke Fans Forum Link Up:
Exclusive VMC 7 Deadly Sins Q&A: Stoke Fans Forum
Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear): It`s Clattenburg's third game in charge of City and 4th in charge of Stoke this season. He reffed the Arsenal 'FourTwogate' and the 3-3 at Bolton . A busy ref who tends to keep his reds pocketed. It's his second FA Cup tie of the season.Current season record: Games:29, Yellow Cards:78 Red Cards:4
I think this could be a humdinger. Tony Pulis and Man City will be forever associated since City came back from the third tier dead against his Gillingham side a decade ago. You always get the feeling he raises his baseball capped game when he's up against The Blues. He's sure to send out Stoke with a mission to get right in amongst City on Saturday and certain key City players must give no quarter. Much will depend upon Toure, Kompany, Vieira, Barry and Adebayor, especially at set pieces to hold the spine of the City team together. It's going to be a close encounter, yet I expect City to edge a thriller. Johnny On The Spot: CITY 3 Stoke 2
A: Stoke City, Tue 16 Feb 19h45 GMT
H: Liverpool, Sat 21 Feb 15h00 GMT
A: Chelsea, Sat 27Feb 12h45 GMT
Date:Friday February 12 2010
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