The visitors have come away with a single point on each of their last four visits to the Potters and Al Hain-Cole expects them to suffer the same fate on SaturdayManchester City will be looking to record their first ever Premier League win at the Britannia Stadium when they travel to face Stoke on Saturday.
The last time Manuel Pellegrini’s men collected maximum points in the league from a trip to Staffordshire both sides were plying their trade in the third tier, but they are 8/13 (1.62) favourites with William Hill to emerge victorious 14 years on and they did beat Stoke 1-0 in an FA Cup tie last January.
Mark Hughes is yet to beat his former club in four attempts since leaving the Etihad Stadium, and you can get odds of 9/2 (5.50) on him breaking that duck with victory in this game.
The teams have drawn each of their last four league meetings at this ground and there are odds of 14/5 (3.80)available on that run continuing with a stalemate here.
While Hughes was brought in with the remit of evolving predecessor Tony Pulis’ playing philosophy into something more aesthetically pleasing, the Welshman will want to borrow some pages of his fellow countryman’s tactical masterplan on how to tackle Saturday’s visitors.
Having such a good recent record against City in the league, Pulis certainly knew how to handle their array of attacking talent, and The Potters would be more than happy to grind out another hard-fought draw for the fifth successive league fixture in front of their own fans.
The visitors allowed themselves to be bullied out of the game in front of an intimidating atmosphere during their defeat to Cardiff, so should be in for a shock at the Britannia, where the combative hosts are sure to make the most of the defensive absences of Vincent Kompany, new signing Martin Demichelis and Micah Richards, who may not be fit enough to start the game after his long spell on the sidelines.
A scrappy game looks likely, and odds of 10/11 (1.91) therefore cannot be ignored on under 2.5 goals going in, while it is also well worth considering the 7/1 (8.00) price available on this fixture ending in a 1-1 draw for the fifth consecutive league fixture, and sixth time in seven matches in all competitions.