Date:Wednesday December 21 2011
Manchester City gear up to face a stubborn Stoke City at Etihad Stadium, a game which could see City record a memorable Christmas No:1. Santa may just have to rethink his outfit this year.
Tony Pulis' side have managed to claw their way up the league following a less than impressive start to the season. Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini's men have gone from strength to strength - sitting pretty at the leagues summit.
The Potters certainly have a sting in their tail and now that the side is finally coming together, they have enough in them to ruin Christmas.
Who will be the man to step up with the perfect gift this year?
City's anticipated left-back problem with Aleksandar Kolarov missing and Gael Clichy suspended against Arsenal was eased by the excellent Pablo Zabaleta who will certainly give Clichy a run for his money as Mancini decides who to start against Stoke.
With such a tight fixture list, changes will certainly be made to the team, giving the likes of Edin Dzeko the opportunity to impress.
While his goal tally hasn't reflected his contribution to the team, Aguero is starting to influence the game more and more. Some glaring misses have marred an otherwise perfect start to his City career and it's only a matter of time before the Argentine finds the net consistantly.
Ryan Shawcross and Glenn Whelan will miss out for the Potters meaning that they will face an uphill struggle if they hope to keep City at bay.
While he hasn't exactly been the same player he was last season, Etherington is one of Stoke's main threats besides walking bean pole Peter Crouch.
His pace and ability will certainly test the resolve of Micah Richards who will need to make sure his defensive game is as good as his attacking one.
City captain Vincent Kompany is set to make his 150th appearance in blue.
Mark Halsey officiates todays game.
With the incentive of being first for Christmas, City will be desperate for the win. This usually translates into a flat performance that underwhelms us all. However, despite my life-long City fan branded pessimism, I think that the mentality of the team has been completely revitalised under the stewardship of Roberto Mancini, and we will be saving our 'typical City' remarks for another day. Although Stoke have a good side and a decent manager to boot, I think that they will be brushed aside this evening. Manchester City 2-0 Stoke City.
Premier League: Away to West Brom on 26th December @ 3pm
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Date:Wednesday December 21 2011
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