If Manuel Pellegrini thought picking up points away from home in the Premier League was going to be straightforward, then his first road trip to Cardiff would have dispelled that theory straight away and he won’t get much change at Stoke either.
Only a heroic penalty save from Simon Mignolet prevented Stoke from pinching a point at Liverpool on the opening day and since then the Potters have been impressive.
Following that narrow defeat Mark Hughes’ side have recorded back-to-back Premier League victories over Crystal Palace and West Ham respectively, while sandwiching a routine 3-1 swatting of League One Walsall in the League Cup in between.
Like their opponents, Stoke have changed the man calling the shots from the dug-out and so far it appears to be paying dividends.
Stoke have still retained most of their physically-imposing players, but it’s been refreshing to see the ball played around on the deck with slightly more zip than under the previous regime and as ever the hostile confines of the Britannia can prove a 12th man for the home side.
Despite Man City’s huge financial injection of recent years, they’ve not won at Stoke’s home ground in five attempts in the league, drawing the last four 1-1, with that scoreline available to back at a handsome 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
There is no doubt the visitors have the greater quality, but their latest defensive injury to new signing Martin Demichelis, who joins skipper Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards on the physio’s table, could see them exposed at set plays again, as they were against Cardiff.
The man to benefit most could be Peter Crouch, who has scored in the last two renewals of this league fixture.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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