December 5, 2015 • 12:45 • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Atkinson

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Stoke City always has a special inspiration against the big clubs, while Manchester City is in significant problems due to injuries in all lines, and the hosts hope that they can take at least a point, the same they had done in five of the last six encounters vs Man City at their stadium. Still, last season the league toppers enrolled a high 4-1 win at Britannia, but in the same season they lost to Potters at home. Citizens have celebrated only once in all competition away, while Stoke City at home in all competitions have lost only once, to Watford.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes looked ahead on Friday (4th December) to the following day’s English Premier League meeting with one of his former clubs – Manchester City.

Mark Hughes, Stoke City manager (on Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure missing Saturday’s game through injury):

“Yeah, they’ll probably replace them with, two other 25-million pound players probably! That’s the quality of the group they’ve got so, yeah, they have that ability, obviously, to replace outstanding players with, with outstanding players. That’s the top and bottom of it. So, whoever we go up against, it doesn’t matter if they’ve got players out injured. The guys that come in…. are accomplished players in their own right. So, whatever combination we have to face, we know it’s going to be a big test.”

Stoke City manager (on his side’s current form):
“We’re strong. We’re healthy at the moment, apart from the ones (players) I’ve mentioned (Peter Crouch, Peter Odemwingie and Shay Given). So…. we’re playing well. Had a decent run of form in the Premier League, until last week defeat to Sunderland.

So, we want to get back on track in terms of our league, results and performances. Great game for us. We’re looking forward to it. (It will) Be a big crowd again and, it’s always good to up against the best in the Premier League. Well, not only in the Premier League but one of the top sides in Europe as well. So that shows the quality and the strength of the Premier League and we’re part of that and we enjoy the challenge of the Premier League.”

Team Probable lineups

Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini looks ahead the trip to Stoke City in the English Premier League.

“Well, I think that in December and January there are very critical games for the Premier League. It’s important to be near, if you can be at the top of the table, it’s better, then at least be near to the top of the table, because after that you start again with the Champions League and demanding games in midweek. So you have to play so many games during December and January, especially when you continue in the Capital One (League Cup), also start the FA Cup, so it’s really important top try to be as near the top of the table as you can.”

Manchester City coach:
(on Saturday’s opponents Stoke City and last season’s 4-1 win at the Britannia Stadium)
“Well, we just watched the game that we played last season. I think that we played very well. It’s very important when yo play against Stoke to be an aggressive team from the beginning, try to go for the three points from the first minute, because they are always an aggressive team, especially in the first 15 or 20 minutes, they want to make the difference, so it’s very important to have good possession and be very attentive in defending.”

Pellegrini on Aguero:
” Well, we’ll see. Sergio is recovering from his heel, he has pain, so it’s not easy for him to work, that’s why his (recovery) is delayed a little bit more.”
Question: ‘So is he in contention for the weekend?’
“I don’t think… maybe for the next weekend, we’ll see. We are trying to see if he can be fit for Tuesday (City’s Champions League fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach).”

Stoke City: Butland – Cameron, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters – Adam, Whelan – Shaqiri, Krkić, Arnautović – Walters
Out: Muniesa, Given, Crouch

Manchester City: Caballero – Sagna, Demichelis, Otamendi, Kolarov – Fernando, Fernandinho – De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling – Bony
Out: Kompany, Zabaleta, Nasri, Mangala, Agüero, Toure, Hart (?), Navas (?)

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