Pep’s revolución at Manchester City got underway last week with three points, though in truth the performance was a far cry from the tiki-taka many were hoping to see. City were often laborious, moving the ball far too slowly. It’s plain to see Pep’s ideas at work, but even plainer that it’ll take time before the city squad are comfortable enough to do it at pace. With that in mind, this one poses as a real opportunity for Stoke to get something out of the game.
Sparkie’s men didn’t exactly set the world ablaze themselves and were probably lucky to grab a point at Middlesborough. Still, Xherdan Shaqiri showed his ability with a vicious, dipping free-kick – highlighting Stoke’s ability to collect results when they don’t play well. City are still looking a bit squishy at the back, and the likes of Shaqiri and Marco Arnautovic will fancy their chances of influencing the game. City have some match-winners of their own though, with Sergio Aguero backing up his opening round strike from the penalty spot with a midweek hat-trick against Steaua Bucharest. If City are able to get him in the game early then it could prove to be a tough night for the home side, but from their opening performance, you’d imagine Pep’s first ‘cold night in Stoke’ might be a tough one.
1 — 1 ($7.00)
Marco Arnautovic ($10)