Manchester City is aiming for two wins over Stoke in the space of four days when the two teams square off on Tuesday night.It was 1-0 to City on Saturday as the Citizens broke their 35-year trophy drought in the FA Cup final at Wembley and Robert Mancini’s charges will be full of confidence heading into their penultimate clash of the Premier League season at the City of Manchester Stadium.
And if you thought that City have nothing to play for this season after their Cup victory, then think again as third place on the table is still a possibility.
Arsenal’s shock loss at home to Aston Villa on Sunday has left the door open for City and a win here will see Mancini’s side leapfrog Arsene Wenger’s team heading into the final weekend of the season.
Manchester City currently have 65 points compared to Arsenal’s 67, but victory here and then another three points in their final game of the season against Bolton at Reebok Stadium will mean automatic qualification for the Champions League next season.
Mancini has no fresh injury concerns, with long-term absentees Shay Given and Jerome Boateng the only players certain to be missing, although the Italian may freshen his team from the 11 that played on Saturday.
Stoke have already exceeded expectations this season, with Tony Pulis’ side currently sitting in ninth spot on the table with 46 points.
A win would see them jump past Fulham into eighth, but a loss against City combined with defeat in their final game of the season at home to Wigan could see them drop as low as 15th.
Matthew Etherington was substituted at half-time of the FA Cup final and may miss this clash, but there are no fresh injury worries for Stoke.
Danny Higginbotham, Ricardo Fuller and Mamady Sidibe are all out injured and will not feature.
In the corresponding fixture played earlier this season the points were shared, with Micah Richards giving City the lead late in the match, only for Etherington to salvage a 1-1 draw for Stoke with a stoppage time strike.