Pablo Zabaleta vs Jermaine Pennant
The Argentine has quickly become first-choice in City's star studded side, ousting the inconsistent Aleksander Kolarov. Pennant has endured something of a revival as a player since his move to the Britannia Stadium and his splendid goal against Arsenal, his former club, last week capped the remarkable turn-around his career has made.
His tricky style and pace could trouble Zabaleta, whose good positional sense will come in handy as the Englishman likes to wipe the ball in early to the likes of Kenwyne Jones.
Nigel De Jong vs Glenn Whelan
A battle for the purists in the centre of midfield as the uncompromising De Jong meets Republic of Ireland international Whelan. The Stoke man is likely to be the main playmaker in the middle of the park for Tony Pulis' men with Matthew Etherington a doubt.
His Dutch opponent has had a solid season for City, capped with a fine goal against Sunderland last month. His fierce tackling ability is well documented, but his work without the ball is not. A good asset to have in defence from set-pieces and he'll be keen to quell Whelan's midfield surges.
Vincent Kompany vs Kenwyne Jones
The Belgian defender is in many people's eyes the player of the year after some stunning displays in City's at times faultless back-line. Jones is more than a match for Kompany physically, and has a handy knack of notching in the big games, and was on cue again against Arsenal last week.
Much rides on the outcome of this battle. City's miserly defence gives little away, but Stoke's main man up-front has all the assets to trouble them. One of many threats from Rory Delaps booming throws.
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