Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday September 14 2012
The Britannia Stadium
Back to business and a revamped Manchester City squad heads to uncompromising Stoke. One of the toughest fixtures in the calendar
'I think by bringing Michael Owen in now, we have got different options...we'll see how it goes - I don't want to put too much pressure on him. I want him to come and enjoy his football and get fit and sharp again at a club where he knows if he plays well, he will have an opportunity.'
'Stoke is one of the worst grounds in the Premier League because it is very difficult to play there. They are a strong team. For us, it is very difficult, but not only for us, for all the teams. It is important we try to play football like we do. They are very strong, they are tall. We have experience for this, all our players know this game, and we know it will be a tough game.'
'It's just unfortunate in that way that the market finishes, you buy your players and then they disappear on the international break. But it's important to recharge your batteries...We're delighted with the signings. I think if you look at the balance of the squad, it's there. If you look at the strength in depth, it's there. The manager is quite pleased with it.'
32 year old ex-rag Michael Owen could take part in his first Premier League fixture in 10 months.
Bargain basement signings don't come with much more experience than Owen. Despite the injury record that blighted what could have been an all time great career, he only needs a sniff of goal to swing a game.
Micah Richards (Ankle - Back end of September)
Gareth Barry (Hernia - Back in Training)
Sergio Aguero (Knee - Back in Training -Possible Appearance)
All City's summer signings are in the frame to play a part in Staffordshire. Maicon, Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia and Scott Sinclair are all available.
In fierce form, El Apache's presence will be crucial here. City took 4 points off Stoke last season without the club's 61 goal striker yet his fighting spirit will be a big bonus to have on board in the cauldron of The Britannia.
Head To Head:
League: 30 Stoke Wins, 20 Draws, 36 City Wins
League Cup: 2 Stoke Wins, 1 Draw, 3 City Wins
FA Cup: 3 Stoke Wins, 1 Draw, 3 City Wins
Total: 35 Stoke Wins, 22 Draws, 43 City Wins
Last Time Around:
Sa 24Mar 2012 Stoke 1 - 1 Man City PL
We 21Dec 2011 Man City 3 - 0 Stoke PL
Stoke have never lost to City at The Britannia in the Premier League and have lost only 2 games at home in 2012. It's a case of 6 draws in 7 going into this one for The Potters.
The match will realise Mancio's 1000th day as Man City boss.
The Citizens have shipped 7 goals in the last 4 league games.
Stoke nemesis Yaya Touré averages 99 passes in the league per game this season. No Stoke player registers anywhere near that across the opening games.
City 8/11, Stoke 4, Draw 13/5
Mark Clattenburg of Tyne and Wear 2011-2012 Record Across All Competitions: 36 Games, 115 Yellows, 8 Reds Last Season: Su 18Sep 2011 Fulham 2 - 2 Man City PL Su 23Oct 2011 Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City PL Mo 12Dec 2011 Chelsea 2 - 1 Man City PL Sa 03Mar 2012 Man City 2 - 0 Bolton PL
Johnny On The Spot: This is the away fixture so many sides dread and the mantra 'I'll take a point now' is often muttered by rival fans upon entering the stadium. But The Champions have the physical presence to mix it with anyone on their day. We could witness a scrap, especially if both sides continue a start to the season that hasn't seen either of them quite firing yet. The Blues will have been relieved to reach the international break unbeaten and I expect them to play with more fluidity now despite the spectre of the exciting trip to Real Madrid on Tuesday looming large...Stoke 0 CITY 2
all times East Manchester
Tu 18Sep 19h45 Real Madrid, The Bernabeu, CL
Su 23Sep 16h00 Arsenal, The Etihad, PL
Tu 25Sep 19h45 Aston Villa, The Etihad, LC3
Sa 29Sep 15h00 Fulham, Craven Cottage, PL
We 03Oct 19h45 Borussia Dortmund, The Etihad, PL
Sa 06Oct 12h45 Sunderland, The Etihad, PL
Sa 20Oct 15h00 West Brom, The Hawthorns, PL
We 24Oct 19h45 Ajax, Amsterdam Arena, CL
Sa 27Oct 17h30 Swansea City, The Etihad, PL
Date:Friday September 14 2012
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