English Premiership

Preview: Manchester City v Stoke City

2017-03-07 18:20
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Manchester City will look to maintain their recent run of form against Stoke City on Wednesday if they are to have any chance of catching run-away Premier League leaders Chelsea.

City appear to have their league campaign back on track with four wins from their last four league games, while they are unbeaten in all matches for the last nine matches.

They were in fine form as they saw off Monaco in the Champions League and Huddersfield in the FA Cup before another comfortable win, this time beating Sunderland 2-0 on Sunday.

They come into this game in third place on the standings, with 55 points, one behind Tottenham and 11 adrift of Chelsea.

Stoke, meanwhile, occupy ninth place, with 35 points. While they were victorious this past weekend, Mark Hughes' side have been massively inconsistent, with two draws, two losses and two wins in their last six ties, including a 4-0 drubbing to Spurs two weeks ago.

Ahead of this clash, Guardiola said: "It's a pity that the distance between Chelsea [and Manchester City] is so big, but that's true. We started the season with 10 games winning, but our game was not like today.

"I feel we are playing quite well and that's why we are getting results. But now, of course, we are in a position when you arrive in March and April, every game if you win, you stay; if you lose, you are out."

Hughes added on the Stoke website: "We disappointed ourselves at Spurs a couple of weeks ago as we never got close to them and allowed them to comprehensively take the game away from us.

“We had discussions after the game at White Hart Lane and there were areas that we were simply not good enough in, and we have to improve upon that on Wednesday.

“We have shown in my time here that we can compete with and beat any side in the division, but maybe this season we haven’t acquitted ourselves well enough in those games.

“It’s important that we show improvements against Manchester City though because they are playing well at the moment and they are winning games.”

In team news, Guardiola has no injury concerns with only long-term absentees Vincent Kompany (muscle), Gabriel Jesus (metatarsal) and Ilkay Gundogan (ACL knee) sidelined.

Hughes, meanwhile, has doubts over Bruno Martins Indi (knee) and Glen Johnson (shoulder) but Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) is available again having been sidelined since January.

Arnautovic fell ill over the weekend, but is expected to make a full recovery for this match.

Jack Butland has, meanwhile, made a return to training after suffering a fractured ankle playing for England over a year ago.

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Sunday, 20 August 2017
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United, The John Smith's Stadium 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Monday, 21 August 2017
Manchester City v Everton, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Saturday, 26 August 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Crystal Palace v Swansea City, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v West Ham United, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Southampton, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Leicester City, Old Trafford 18:30
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