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Manchester City vs Stoke City Premier League Preview

December 31, 2012


Manchester City enter their first game of 2013 against Stoke with the aim of slicing Manchester United's seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

City prevented their local rivals gaining any more ground when they edged out Norwich 4-3 at Carrow Road on Saturday, despite being reduced to 10 men when Samir Nasri saw red on the stroke of half-time. 

That success went some way to making up for the defending champions' defeat at Sunderland on Boxing Day, which allowed United to open up their significant lead. 

City now head into the second half of the campaign knowing they must build on their win at Norwich if they want to get their title defence back on track. 

Roberto Mancini's men also have the added pressure of third-placed Chelsea closing in, with Rafael Benitez's men having recently found form to win their last four on the bounce and cut the gap between them and City to four points. 

But City will be feeling confident as they prepare to entertain Stoke, having only lost at the Etihad Stadium once this season. 

The Potters have struggled to find away form, winning just once on their travels, but claiming six away draws. 

Despite their troubles on the road, Tony Pulis' side sit eighth in the table after going unbeaten in 10 league games and will be keen to build on that run by upsetting their hosts. 

Stoke twice came from behind to peg Southampton back 3-3 in a thrilling draw last time out but travel to Manchester knowing they have not taken any points at City in the league since 1997, when they won 1-0.



Manchester City will be without Samir Nasri after they decided not to appeal against his sending-off at Norwich. 

Striker Mario Balotelli (virus) is not yet ready to return while full-backs Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon (knee) also remain on the sidelines. 

Defender Micah Richards (knee) and midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are still long-term casualties.


Stoke midfielder Steven Nzonzi will be available after appealing against his sending-off on Saturday, when he was shown a red card for an alleged stamp on Southampton's Jack Cork. 

Geoff Cameron returns after serving a suspension for accruing five yellow cards and could replace Ryan Shotton at right-back. 

Rory Delap (hernia) and Marc Wilson (broken leg) are both unavailable for the Potters.


Source: SkySports


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