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Manchester City vs Stoke – Match Preview

Manchester City come into tonight’s rescheduled Premier League encounter with Stoke knowing that a win would see them return to second in the Premier League and be the nearest side to current runaway leaders Chelsea.

Should City win Tonight they will cut the gap to 8 points but even with the margin being down to single figures you still have to feel that it’s very much Chelsea’s title to lose and that ultimately leaves Pep Guardiola competing to be the best of the rest and subsequently making sure that Champions League foobtall is once again secured for next season.

They come into this game off the back of four consecutive wins and their form has turned around after a slight blip in and around the start of the year as they were handed a double dose of mersey misery as they lost to both Liverpool and Everton.

But they now look a lot closer to the side that started the season in such dominant fashion. After the first half dozen games many were ready to hand City the title there and then, what a difference a few months make though what with everyone now handing the same plaudits to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.

Last time out Pep Guardiola’s men travelled to The Stadium Of Light which has been home to few banana skins previously but it was a professional job done as City edged past a Sunderland side which struggling for points and it’s Premier League status.

Tonight’s opponents Stoke are once again in mid-table and more importantly 9th place which they seem to know and love very well due to Mark Hughes’s side finishing there in the last two seasons and you would have to say that there is every chance that it will be the same again come the end of this campaign.

After a 4-0 drubbing at White Hart Lane by Tottenham 10 days ago, there would have been encourangment for former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes that his side bounced back to hand out a defeat to Middlesbrough last weekend.

A 2-0 win would have been the perfect tonic after such a lacklustre performance in North London, with some quarters questioning whether Hughes has taken this club as far as he can and perhaps suggesting that their should be a new man at the helm next season.

That win over a Middlesbrough side who have an obvious aversion to goalscoring this season will have no doubt eased that pressure but another result like the one away to Tottenham and people will no doubt be asking the same questions.

Stoke do have a tendency to blow hot and cold and you never really know what you are going to get which perfectly reflects the reason they sit 9th in the table right now. But as good as they can be I do think they will come unstuck later Tonight.

City’s form has been impressive as of late there is no doubt of that and there is no reason to suggest anything other than a 5th straight league win for the blue half of Manchester. Can they at least keep Chelsea honest in the race for the title? who knows but I reckon it’s a home win Tonight.

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