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    Joe Jones
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    Joe Jones Tip
    Twitter: twitter JoeJones1862

    Premier League Preview: Can Stoke City halt Manchester City juggernaut?

    Manchester City can take another step towards what seems to be an imminent Premier League title triumph on Monday night when they make the trip down the M6 to face struggling Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.

    How could this game pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look in this dedicated preview.

    Head to head

    Man City and Stoke have met 112 times in competitive action, with the first game coming on 2 December 1899 in the First Division, and the result was a 1-0 win for the Potters.

    The Citizens have won 50 of those encounters, lost 37, and drawn 25.

    Stoke have kept a clean sheet in three of their last seven Premier League games against Man City.

    However, the Potters have conceded 19 goals across the other four games in that time, including seven in the reverse fixture in October.

    Pep Guardiola's side won the reverse fixture on 14 October 7-2, scoring seven goals in a Premier League game for only the second time -they also beat Norwich 7-0 in 2013.

    Man City haven't done the league double over Stoke since 1998-99, when they were in the third tier together.

    Indeed, the Citizens have only won two of their nine Premier League trips to the Bet365 Stadium, though these have come in their last three visits there and both by a 4-1 scoreline.

    Standings and form

    This will be Man City's 30th game of the campaign and, with 27 points left to play for, Pep Guardiola's tabletoppers currently boast a 13-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, which could become 16 come full-time in Staffordshire.

    Put simply, only a serious collapse combined with a superb run of form for Man United will stop the Citizens from getting hands on the title, and although they have slipped here and there throughout the course of the season, a combination of whirlwind performances and gritty displays culminating in last-minute winners have made them look like very good value for money championship-wise.

    Victory would see the visitors win back-to-back Premier League away games for the first time since December and the omens look good - the team starting the day top of the Premier League table has not lost to a side starting that day in the relegation zone since Manchester United's defeat against Wigan in April 2012.

    Sergio Aguero, who has 199 goals for City, has scored eight goals in his eight league games against Stoke, including a brace in his last two away games against them - although he will not be involved due to a knee injury expected to sideline him for two weeks.

    As for Stoke, they sit 19th in the table and have won just one of their previous 10 league games and have failed to score in five of their last nine matches, although they have lost only one of their six top-flight matches under Paul Lambert.

    Worryingly, the Potters have only won one of their 15 Premier League games against teams starting that day top of the table, although that victory came against the Citizens, in December 2015, but should they succeed in beating City, they will climb out of the bottom three.

    Team news

    Sergio Aguero is set to be out for up to two weeks with a knee injury picked up during training.

    Playmaker David Silva returns after missing the midweek Champions League clash against Basel for personal reasons.

    Forward Raheem Sterling and midfielder Fernandinho are both hoping to prove their fitness after returning to training following hamstring injuries.

    Left-back Fabian Delph is available again after suspension but could be doubtful after suffering a knock, while Benjamin Mendy is also back in training and could return in the next month.

    Stoke forward Mame Diouf is set to sit out the game with City due to the shoulder injury he sustained last weekend at Southampton.

    Defender Kevin Wimmer and striker Saido Berahino, who have been placed on programmes to improve their fitness levels, could return to the matchday squad after missing the last six and two games respectively.

    Midfielder Stephen Ireland is not yet ready to make his comeback from a calf injury, and goalkeeper Lee Grant, who has a broken wrist, also remains sidelined.


    Although Paul Lambert has steadied the Stoke ship somewhat, they will be facing a side that not only has been head and shoulders above everyone else in the country, but who will not play another competitive game until the end of the month after this game and so can afford to wheel out their big guns and put in a full-throttle performance to edge them closer to the finish line.

    There are two slivers of hope for the Potters - the first is that Sergio Aguero will be absent, and he has done his fair share of tormenting Stoke in recent years, and also that they put in a good performance against the champions-elect in 2012 when Peter Crouch scored a wonderful dipping shot from 25 yards out for a 1-1 draw - so if it was done then, it can surely be done again? Sadly, I don't think that will be the case.

    Score prediction: Stoke 0-3 Man City

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