Manchester City dropped two crucial points against Newcastle in their bid to finish in top-4 this season. In their next game, Citizens take on a deleted Stoke side who were battered 4-0 by Tottenham last weekend.
Manchester City will have one eye on their Champions League semi-final game against Real Madrid which could prompt a different team selection from Manuel Pellegrini.
Stoke’s European ambitions have taken a hit after their inconsistent performance in recent weeks. Mark Hughes wants his team to finish the season on a high and a good result at The Etihad would be a good start.
Ahead of the kick-off, we take a look at three key questions which will be answered when Manchester City take on Stoke at Etihad this weekend.
How good City’s squad strength is?
Manuel Pellegrini will not hesitate to rotate his team against Stoke and we could see the likes of Fabian Delph, Martin Demichelis (yes even him), Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony in City’s starting XI.
Pellegrini would want his key players Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany rested before the Madrid game. It will be interesting to see if City can hold Stoke off with their second string side.
Can Stoke upset Man City again?
Earlier in the season we saw Stoke tear apart a clueless Manchester City side with a 2-0 win. Xherdan Shaqiri ran riot on City’s defense and he would once again hope to be on top form this weekend.
Mark Hughes’ side have lost their way in recent weeks and it would need a much improved performance to keep the City side at bay, who are aspiring for Champions League glory.
A possible twist in the top-4 race?
Arsenal leapfrogged City to clinch the 3rd place with a win over West Brom last night. Given City’s focus on Champions League, they could field a weakened side against Stoke and we could see a possible slip-up from The Citizens.
If that happens Manchester United will suddenly comeback in the top-4 race as they are only 2 points behind their local rivals. Race for the top-4 could be dragged to the last day of the season which could only mean excitement for the neutrals.
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