Manchester City will be looking to get 2013 off to a winning start when they take on Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on New Year’s Day.
The Citizens have seven points to make-up on their title rivals Manchester United, so know how important a win is here, especially with United playing at Wigan Athletic, a ground where they lost last season of course.
Roberto Mancini’s men won 4-3 at Norwich City last time out and at times, played some quite outstanding football. They had Samir Nasri sent off in the first half, which changed the game a lot, but still had the quality to come out on top.
Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were both on the score-sheet at Carrow Road and seemed to link-up extremely well, so they may be starting this on as well.
As they are on home soil, City are of course the big favourites with the bookmakers for this one and you can back them at 3/10 with Blue Square.
Man City have struggled at the Etihad at times this campaign though, so an early goal is what they are sure to be after.
As for Stoke, they are now on a ten game unbeaten run, so will not be coming to Manchester just to make up the numbers.
The Potters are sure to pride themselves on being defensively solid on Tuesday afternoon and might try to hit their opponents on the counter attack. It is sure to be a tough 90 minutes, but Tony Pulis will have his side well organised and in high spirits.
Betting on a Stoke win will offer you some great value with the bookies as well as Bet365 currently have them at 12/1 to claim a victory.
Pulis’ team play a brand of football that could cause City problems as all three of their goals against Norwich came from set-pieces. If Stoke get their delivery right, then they could spring a surprise here.
Bets on the first goal-scorer are sure to be popular and Sergio Aguero seems to be the man most likely to break the deadlock at the moment as he is at 4/1 with Coral.
You can then get odds of 14/1 with Boylesports on Peter Crouch scoring first, which might not be a bad bet considering how many teams Man City have had to come from behind this season.
We think that Manchester City are going to really move up a gear in this one though and end Stoke’s unbeaten record with a 3-0 victory. You can back this happening at 15/2 with Stan James.
With two teams that play contrasting styles of football locking horns, we should be in for an interesting 90 minutes.