Pep Guardiola takes his Manchester City side to Stoke fresh off of all but qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League thanks to their 5 star performance in Bucharest on Tuesday. He may have passed that test with flying colours but can he clear the hurdle of his first Premier League away game?
And there aren’t much easier places to go than Stoke. Last season Mark Hughes masterminded a stunning 3-1 win at what was then known as The Britannia Stadium and they would love nothing more than to repeat that feat and hand Guardiola his first ever defeat in English football.
For City they come here off the back of an opening day win at home to Sunderland although they didn’t quite breeze past David Moyes side as they had Paddy McNair to put through his own net just three minutes. But in fairness they should have the game wrapped up well before Jermain Defoe managed to pull The Black Cats level.
City looked mesmerising on Tuesday but dodgy defending from Steaua Bucharest certainly helped them as they put 5 past the Romanians. You can’t see Stoke giving them the same level of freedoms, City will have their work cut out if they are to come away with all three points
Last weekend saw Stoke register a 1-1 draw away at Middlesbrough on the opening day and they had Xhedran Shaqiri to thank as his goal restored parity after Alvaro Negredo’s opener put Boro ahead early on. A point away from home isn’t the worst way to kick start your season and Mark Hughes will be hoping that his Stoke side can add to that tally this Lunchtime.
Even after two matches Guardiola seems to have Raheem Sterling player at the level that every knows he is capable of, he looks so far removed from the player who took part in England’s ill fated Euro 2016 campaign. It’s been quite the transformation.
City will need Sterling to be firing on all cylinders today if they are to get anything from this game, Stoke won’t afford them as many chances as Steaua did on Tuesday night but you would imagine that City will have enough quality to edge past Stoke and pick up a third consecutive win in a week. I’m going for an away win.