- City currently sits 4th with four matches to play
- Stoke has conceded eight goals in previous two games
- Teams have split last four meetings
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The Citizens currently sit two points behind third place Arsenal for the final automatic Champions League position. Manchester United has sneakily pulled itself to within two points of City as well, making their meeting with Stoke all the more important. Since their loss to the Red Devils on March 20, Pellegrini’s men have progressed to the Champions League final four, although a midweek draw against Newcastle was a bit of a sting.
Recent thrashings from Liverpool and Tottenham have Stoke reeling, despite sitting in the upper half of the PL. The team’s last win came over a month ago, when the side captured three points on the road against Watford. Stoke is on pace to finish ninth for the third consecutive season, unless they can make one last push down the stretch.
What they’re saying
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “You need to win your own games. If we win our points we’re going to be third in the table. That’s why it’s important to play well. The pressure is exactly the same. The only way to do it is to win our games.”
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes: “We’ve had disappointing results and performances of late, and we always deal with the here and now, but obviously, psychologically, we know we can go to the big clubs and big stadiums and perform. We have done that in the past. I think the fact it’s Man City away allows us to really focus. We know even if we were in fantastic form, it would still be a huge challenge for us.”
After Tuesday’s slip-up against Newcastle, expect City to come out much more focused on Saturday. Stoke’s backline has been through the ringer over recent weeks, and the Manchester attack could certainly put the match out of hand early if Hughes’ side isn’t careful. I think the Citizens are playing solid football at the moment, and will take this one, 2-0.