City's players have been busy boys during the international break but it should be business as usual when they're back in Premier League mode, says Jamie Pacheco.
'It would be no surprise if this was 4-1, 5-0 or another cricket-like scoreline and you can cover all those eventualities by going ‘any other home win’ on the correct score market at [2.58].'
Manchester City v Stoke
Saturday October 14 15:00
City not far off perfection
A near-flawless start to the season for City but given the quality of players at Pep Guardiola's disposal, you'd expect those sort of results.
After a slow start to the season by his standards, Kevin de Bruyne is starting to find his best form and it's been a productive season for Raheem Sterling, too. He's scored five goals so far from just seven shots (Opta) and has gone from being a possible makeweight in a deal for Alexis Sanchez to one of the first names on the team sheet.
Sergio Aguero's injury is a big blow but then again, that's why City have such a rich squad, although the only like-for-like player within it is Gabriel Jesus.
In defence, Guardiola will have to make do without Benjamin Mendy till almost the end of the season while Vincent Kompany is also likely to miss this one through injury. The obvious move would be to play Danilo at left-back but the manager has been a little reluctant to start the former Real Madrid man, preferring to employ Fernandinho there on occasion. We'll have to wait and see what he does for this game.
Where's the Stoke goalscorer?
Eight points from seven games is a relatively poor return for a normally reliable side.
Their main problem seems to be the lack of a reliable goalscorer in the squad. Mame Biram Diouf has been employed in a number of different roles, Saido Beharino's nightmare continues (he hasn't scored so far this season and added salt to the wounds by missing a penalty against Southampton) while it's a bit much to expect Peter Crouch at 36 to perform miracles, although he did grab the vital winner in that same match against Southampton.
The extravagantly named Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been leading the line and will probably do so again here. Joe Allen was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge as Wales lost to Ireland and may not recover in time.
The hosts are [1.17] and I've seen worse banker material for your big weekend acca than that. It may seem ludicrous that a Premier League side who has been in this division for as many years in a row as Stoke can be priced up at [22.0] but such is the difference in quality and results between the two that there won't be many takers even at that price. A draw would be enough of an upset here and that's a pretty big [9.4].
The problem with having a squad packed with international superstars is that they're pretty busy during international breaks. Just about every player likely to start on Saturday will have played at least 135 minutes over the past 10 days or so and in the case of Ederson, Fernandinho, Danilo and Gabriel Jesus, that involved an energy-sapping trip at high altitude to Bolivia before a home tie back in Brazil against Chile.
But don't let that put you off going with City scoring a bundle of goals. Bizarrely, as Opta tell us, City have either scored exactly four goals (three times) or none (three times) in their last six matches against Stoke and it's far more likely to be the former outcome than the latter here.
It's also worth remembering they've won their last two home Premier League games 5-0 (Opta again) and that this wouldn't be the first time this season that Stoke were on the wrong end of a thrashing: they lost 4-0 at home to Chelsea.
It would be no surprise if this was 4-1, 5-0 or another cricket-like scoreline and you can cover all those eventualities by going 'any other home win' on the correct score market at [2.58], which would require City scoring four or more, irrespective of how many Stoke get (including none).
Gabriel Jesus is the red-hot favourite to get a goal on the to score market and is fresh from a brace against Chile. But prior to that he started four matches without scoring in any of them so a quote of [1.4] makes little appeal.
That man Sterling is [2.3] and that looks decent given he's very likely to start with Aguero out injured. But at a bigger price you can back Kevin 'Tintin' de Bruyne at [2.7]. He took his time to open his account for the season but scored in his last two matches for City - at home to Shakhtar and the only goal of the game in that invaluable 1-0 win over Chelsea two weeks ago.
Craig Pawson is in charge and he hasn't been afraid to get his cards out. He averages over four yellows a game this season and started the campaign by sending off two Chelsea players at home to Burnley. Nicolas Otamendi and Joe Allen have both been booked three times this season while Kyle Walker and Sterling have seen red, so keep an eye on their odds of being shown another card.
Staked: 9 pts
Returned: 3.2 pts
P and L: -5.8