Manchester City vs Stoke City preview

Manchester City will play their first premier league match of the year at the Etihad stadium. The reigning EPL champions are seven points behind their city rivals-Manchester United.

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS

MANCHESTER CITY
Hart-Zabaleta,Kompany,Nastasic,Clichy-Milner,Garcia,Yaya Toure,Silva-Dzeko,Aguero

STOKE CITY
Begovic-Cameron,Huth,Shawcross,Wilkinson-Whelan,Adam-Kightly,Walters,Etherington-Jones

Former Inter Milan defender, Maicon will miss today's match due to injury. Aleksandaer Kolarov,Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell will not be available for selection as a result of injuries.
Samir Nasri's red card will keep him out of the squad that will  face Tony Pulis' men at the Etihad.

Mario Balotelli is expected to start the game from the substitute bench. The Italian forward has recovered from illness.

The visitors
Rory Delap and Marc Wilson are the absentees for Stoke City. Steven N'zonzi has been suspended from this match after he was booked on Boxing Day.
Carlos Tevez has scored 7 goals in the EPL this season

What to expect!
Stoke City has been known for their repulsive style of play. The 'Potters' defenders are the best based on the current statistics. The likes of  Ryan Shawcross and Huth will attempt to frustrate the efforts of Aguero and Dzeko. Rory Delap will also be on hand to deliver the long throws that might create some problems for Joe Hart and his defenders.

Sergio Aguero will have to utilize his chances in front of goal. Edin Dzeko's brace against Norwich City should be enough to propel the Bosnian international to score one or two goals against Stoke City.
Facts

  • The league champions have recorded just one clean sheet in seven home matches this term. 
  • Man City won three of their five premier league matches in December 2012. 
  • The last two encounters between these two sides ended in 1-1 draws. 
  • Edin Dzeko is City's leading scorer with eight in the EPL.
  • Neither of these two clubs have won away matches between them. City are yet to defeat Stoke at the Britannia while Stoke City has never grabbed three points in Manchester.
  • Stoke City has the best defence in the top flight of English football, they have only conceded 17 goals so far in the 2012-2013 season.