A Wednesday night Premier League special sees Stoke City at the Etihad against an on-fire Manchester City side. The objective to continue scoring goals and to improve defensively will be exercised as the Sky Blues look to hone their individual and collective skills.
Here are three things to watch:
1 - There’s always more to expect
If Kevin De Bruyne starts, his tenacity to score will be undeniable.
Sergio Agüero remains hungry to prove his worth as a striker of the finest degree. There’s nothing that makes the Argentinian swell with pride like a hat-trick.
Raheem Sterling has been a master of drives and assists recently. A few goals from him wouldn’t be surprising as he seeks to turn the screw of City’s multifaceted attack.
Leroy Sané has helped the goal differential in 2017 but has continued to see shots off the post and other unlucky outcomes, with an additional crop of assists that were lost in translation.
Behind these highly potent wizards of possession-based football are a highly motivated mix of players who seek regular opportunities to act in advanced roles.
2 - Reinforcements?
Pep Guardiola is likely to field a contingent of his elite players to ensure the win. At the same time, the match is bound to give a few players like Fernando, a substitute striker, Fabian Delph, or others to jump into the fray and achieve the Sky Blue ideal as it is currently imagined.
Whatever the combination, the approach remains the same. Whoever is selected will be expected to achieve the preferred method of direct movement and other insightful contributions.
3 - Desire
To determine the direction of play and to gain valuable minutes of exquisite connectivity, City will have to work across the pitch with incredible fervor.
It’s not hard to imagine how they will try to turn Stoke upside down: the wingers will dart; the midfielders will spur and strike whenever possible; the back five or six will be hoping to stride forward with ease.
If they can present a more impenetrable wall in front of the keeper, the swiftness with which the Blues press and turn is bound to seal to game.
A bit of discipline has served them well as they’ve turned a corner in the new year.
If Sunday’s victory against a diligent Sunderland side seemed short of superb, the Blues will be seeking an electric win in front of their local supporters.
A few adjustments to the lineup are reasonable to expect with an FA Cup fixture this weekend and Champions League commitments in seven days. At the same time, with those matches in mind, the team will definitely fight for another significant boost.