Stoke City v Man City: Hughes may find joy in old style Stoke

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Mark Hughes hasn’t managed to exact much on-pitch revenge over his former Etihad employers since his acrimonious exit, but a weakened visitors’ defence means direct methods are his best weapons at the Britannia Stadium.

Although Stoke’s new boss has promised a shift away from the more industrial methods of the previous regime, the Welshman will do well to relax that philosophy for the visit of fancy pants Man City.

There are two sayings which spring to mind; play to your strengths and don’t try to fight fire with fire.

There have been encouraging signs already in Stoke’s bright six-point start that this side are indeed capable of keeping it on the deck, though anyone who saw Man City’s defending from set pieces in their last away trip to Cardiff, will see where the hosts’ best chances of a result will lie.

Ladbrokes’ has Stoke’s odds at 9/2 to beat City, the visitors as 4/6 favourites and the draw installed at 5/2.

With their best defender Vincent Kompany and new signing Martin Demichelis crocked, it looks like Manuel Pellegrini will have to call upon Joleon Lescott and the young Serb Matija Nastasic to partner up again at the back.

While this is not a disaster, the fact the pair have only ever lined up twice together in the Premier League makes this a real plus point for Stoke, who should be aiming to get the ball into the box as much as possible.

Peter Crouch has scored in the last two editions of this fixture and whether it’s him or Kenwyne Jones employed to lead the line, they both offer a towering aerial threat – with both players allotted odds of 10/3 to score at any time.

Bearing in mind the last four at the Britannia have ended 1-1 in the league, 7/1 on a repeat of that outcome and 9/10 on both teams to score also hold appeal.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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