Preview: Manchester City v Stoke City

Laurence Griffiths

Our dreams of a quadruple may be on hold for now, but the drive to win the Premier League is on track and looking good. We've got three winnable league games before two back to back games against United and Arsenal, both away from home. Throw in the other leg in Barcelona, the League Cup final, and the FA Cup tie against Wigan, and March is looking like a pretty important month.

First up on the agenda is a home fixture against Stoke City. The away tie at the Stadium of Light Britannia finished 0-0, and was a pretty boring game. It went a long way to reinforcing the "away problems" narrative that was very pervasive at the start of the season. In reality, we were missing Vinnie and David Silva, and Aguero was coming back from injury. Fernandinho didn't play either. It was a pretty weak midfield, with Rodwell in.

Pretty much all of the issues of fluidity and cohesiveness have been ironed out since the beginning of the season, and with almost everyone back from injury, Pellegrini has most of his first choices ready to play.

Injury update: Sergio Aguero will begin full training on Tuesday, and looks likely to come off the bench in the cup final. Matija Nastasic is still out with knee pain, and there isn't a timetable for how long he could be out for. Other than that, we are good to go. There have been rumors of Vincent Kompany playing with hamstring issues, but those reports have been denied by Pellegrini and the training staff.

Projected squad: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya, Nasri, Silva, Jovetic, Dzeko.

I think that the full squad will get a run out Saturday, keeping everyone ready for the final next weekend. Dzeko hasn't started for a few games, so I bet that he gets the nod over Negredo. Other than that, things are pretty straight-forward, with Lescott coming back into the side to deal with the large Stoke strikers.

Prediction: City 4 - Stoke 0. I don't think that Stoke have enough in their attack to really make City work, and our guys are going to want to bounce back after the loss to Barcelona. Charlie Adams is the one that could cause trouble, but I'm expecting Lescott to have something to prove on defense.

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