Manchester City vs Stoke: No Aguero, no problem - City to ease to another victory

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Manchester City to win by three goals @ 15/4 with Bet365

Manchester City to win with Gabriel Jesus to score first @ 9/4 with Bet365

Manchester City to win 4-0 at 9/1 with Bet365

Manchester City are fully living up to expectations under Pep Guardiola, scoring goals and hardly conceding any. Beating Liverpool 5-0, Feyenoord 4-0 and Watford 6-0 shows just what they are capable of at home and away, but perhaps the most impressive result in recent weeks has been the 1-0 win at Chelsea before the international break.

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Last season, City were defensively awful at times, even when they looked great going forward. That is no longer the case, and they look even more monstrous up front. Sergio Aguero will again miss out as he continues to recover from a broken rib suffered in a car accident a few weeks ago, but five-goal winger Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane are all on standby to take over the attacking duties, not to mention Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian has continued his very impressive start to life in England after battling back from a serious foot injury. He will lead the line, but the movement of City’s attack is so good that it will be almost impossible to mark him out of the game. He faces a new kind of pressure now Aguero is missing, having seen the Argentine as both competition and as a partner. Now, he must replace him as the main goal threat, but the stage is set for him and 9/4 seems like a good offer for him to score first in a home win. Sterling has also popped up with some crucial goals so far this season, notably the winner at Bournemouth and in the draw with Everton, and he is priced at 6/5 to score anytime or 11/4 to score first.

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Stoke are yet to win away from home this season and they have looked pretty open at times. Mark Hughes will set his team up to sit deep in two banks of four to nullify the space for City to exploit, and while Eric Choupo-Moting, Jese Rodriguez and Xherdan Shaqiri can cause problems going the other way, it is tough to see the visitors getting out of their own half too much in this game. Surprisingly, there is good value for a high scoring home win, considering the form they have been in.

Key battle: David Silva vs Darren Fletcher

The deepest midfielder for Stoke will be Darren Fletcher and it will be his job to stop David Silva getting on the ball as much as possible. Kevin de Bruyne will start from a deeper position and drive forward to double up, so Joe Allen will need to help, but this will only push Stoke further towards their own goal. Fletcher must make sure Silva has as little impact on the game as he can.

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Crucial for Stoke will be keeping the fullbacks out of the game too. When City push forward, the likes of Sterling and Sane will tuck in, meaning all of their attacking quality will be central and closer to the goal. It is easy to see why Stoke are predicted to struggle in this one.

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