Stoke City (19th, 27pts) vs Manchester City (1st, 78pts)
Competition/Round: 2017-18 Premier League, Matchday 30
Man City team news: Fabian Delph, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling (doubtful), Benjamin Mendy, Sergio Agüero (out)
Stoke City team news: Mame Biram Diouf, Lee Grant, Stephen Ireland (out), Peter Crouch, Ryan Shawcross (doubtful)
Date/Time: Monday, March 11th, 2018, 8pm GMT (UK), 9pm WAT (Nigeria), 4pm EST, 1pm PST (USA), 1.30am IST (India, next day)
Venue: Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Referee: Jonathan Moss
How to watch on TV: Sky Sports Premier League (UK), NBCSN (USA), TSN4 (Canada), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), others
After an underwhelming Champions League performance against Basel at the Etihad, Manchester City travel to Stoke City to face an opponent against which they’ve recently had a lot of success. Their first matchup this season saw the Blues absolutely destroy Stoke and win 7-2 in what was Pep Guardiola’s most lopsided victory in England.
For Stoke City, it has been their worst season in recent years. After firing Mark Hughes, who City fans should be well familiar with, Stoke have been unable to find the spark which they hoped the sacking would bring. They currently are second to last in the table, equal on points with Crystal Palace.
Stoke’s recent form has been atrocious too. They have failed to pick up 3 points in the month of February, with a defeat to Bournemouth and two draws against Brighton and Leicester City that have seen Stoke fail to climb out of the massive hole they have dug for themselves this year.
The good news for them is that they’re not so far down the table that safety is almost unreachable: only one point separates safety and relegation, and there are at least four teams right now that are out of the drop zone but still very much in danger. The bad news is that Stoke are going up against not only the best team in England, but arguably the best team in Europe right now. And with City’s main players well rested for this match, expect a full City squad against Stoke, motivated to secure the title early.
We are pretty healthy and rested going into this match, although we did get a bit of unfortunate news with Sergio Agüero confirming he has a slight knee injury, but that shouldn’t be a serious thing. He will miss two weeks but only one City match due to the international break coming up.
It’s safe to speculate this is more precaution than actual injury, and City cannot afford to lose their best goalscorer for the rest of season. For the time being, Gabriel Jesus will fill in just as nicely and arguably he could be a better fit for Pep’s system. The rest of the side is fit except for Fabian Delph, who apparently has another Fabian Delph injury. Fernandinho and Sterling are expected to return to action.
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Stoke (4-2-3-1): Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Allen, Choupo-Moting; Crouch
Stoke will probably put up a good fight, but we’re just too good: 3-1 to the Blues.