Manchester City face tough test at the Britannia

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After a slightly rocky start to the season, Manchester City face a tough test when they travel to Stoke City this weekend, and the match has added spice. 

Since losing 3-1 to Cardiff City, Manuel Pellegrini's side bounced back with a 2-0 home win against Hull City, but with the international break interrupting their progress, the last place they would want to visit next is the Potteries.

The trip to Staffordshire has proved a stumbling block for many of the top teams since Tony Pulis brought them into the Premier League. City have failed to win at Stoke since Mark Hughes' current club were promoted to the top flight in 2008.

In the five seasons that the sides have met at the Britannia, Stoke have won one, and the other four results were draws.

There are added incentives for some of the Stoke personnel going into Saturday's match. On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Steven Ireland was surplus to requirements at City, even after impressing enough to earn their Player of the Season award in 2009.

Mark Hughes, now Stoke boss, was harshly sacked at City and replaced by Roberto Mancini. Although many would agree it was the right decision, it was still a sad moment for Hughes nonetheless.

The weather is beginning to turn. A wet and windy afternoon could work in the home side's favour, especially with City's continental additions still becoming acclimatised to the differences of playing in the Premier League.

Yes, the statistics are not all in Stoke's favour. Hughes has lost three of his last four meetings with City since he left the club, and Stoke haven't won back-to-back Premier League matches at home since November 2012.

However City are still missing captain Vincent Kompany and recent signing Martin Demichellis to injury. David Silva is unlikely to feature after picking up a thigh injury playing for Spain. 

You would still expect Pellegrini's men to come away with the three points but it would hardly be a surprise if they were to falter for the second time this season. 


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