Manchester City sit top of the Premier League after an unbeaten start to this campaign, six wins and a draw see them at the summit of the table by virtue of goal difference. Depending on the outcome at Anfield a couple of hours before they could go into this game in second place and will be looking to snatch back top spot after the visit of Stoke.
Before the international break City not only continued their unbeaten run but also dented the hopes of one of their nearest rivals. That was due to the fact that they managed to come away from Stamford Bridge with all three points after Kevin De Bruyne’s 25 yard strike proved to be the difference.
The scoreline may only have read 1-0 but in fairness it was a near battering by Pep Guardiola’s men and the two performances highlighted what already may be a powershift in the Premier League title race landscape for this season.
City were obviously dealt a huge favour in the fact that Alvaro Morata went off injured early on and therefore Chelsea lacked a focal point going forward but at the same time they controlled the game throughout and were it not for a mixture of good goalkeeping and last ditch defending then the score should have been a lot more.
The fear for Stoke is that this unstoppable City machine cranks back into the kind of gear that they showed last month especially when at home when they made incredibly easy work of both Liverpool and Crystal Palace registering 5-0 wins against the pair of them.
It seems to be it doesn’t matter who the opposition is that makes the trip to The Etihad they are going to be in for a long afternoon and Mark Hughes will not want to be embarrassed by his former employers on his return to Manchester.
For Stoke they currently find themselves in 13th place thanks to a win before the international break against Southampton. In terms of the start of the season it could be better but considering many people were writing off Hughes before a ball had even been kicked he will be relatively happy with the performances that have been offered up by his players.
It was a very welcome win for Stoke as they earned their first win in five matches, not only that but it just puts a bit of daylight between themselves and the bottom three. If they had lost to Southampton then they could have gone into the break sitting 17th in the table.
They did of course hold City’s crosstown rivals Manchester United to a 2-2 but that came at the Bet365 Stadium and this is going to be a different beast altogether as they look to withstand what will undoubtedly be wave after wave of Sky Blue pressure this afternoon.
To put things into comparison Stoke are averaging just one goal a game at present while City are averaging more than three. Not only that but they have not even conceded a goal since Charlie Daniels scored for Bournemouth back in August.
That is the size of the task ahead of Stoke later today and they are going to have their work cut out that is for sure, stranger things have happened in the top flight and of course in any two horse race such as this then you can rule nobody out.
But at the same time this City side is making even the biggest teams look ordinary and I cannot see Stoke doing anything to buck the trend later today. It looks like it could be a race for goals between the two Manchester clubs and City will do their bit with a routine home win.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) October 13, 2017