STATS: Clichy’s ability to win all the tackles for Manchester City gives them advantage over Stoke

Man City v Stoke

Man City have started this campaign the same way they finished the last; looking like champions. After an opening day victory against Newcastle and breezing past Liverpool on Monday night, City will be looking to make it 3 wins in a row at The Etihad, where they won 17 of their home games last year.

After his brace on Monday night against Liverpool, Stefan Jovetic will be buoyant coming into Saturday’s fixture against Stoke. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that those two goals are in fact his only two attempts on target this season but also that there is far more to his game than simply scoring goals. He has won three of his four tackles, made two interceptions and tried to create goals for others with his two attempted crosses.

An equally unenviable task for Stoke’s defence will be trying to stop Sergio Aguero from adding to his two goals off the bench in his opening two games of the season. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that this is even more remarkable as he has converted 50% of his four shots on goals so far this season in just 29 minutes of Premier League action. He is also yet to give the ball away, completing 100% of his passes attempted.

Whilst their two strikers are in impeccable form, their back four look equally strong. Gael Clichy in particular has started the season very quickly in accordance with EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The French full back has won all of his ten tackles, made 11 clearances and made six interceptions, completed all four of his dribbles and attempted five crosses.

Whilst he has had an end to end first two games, Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis have had a solid defensive start to the season with 10 and 15 clearances respectively, with the latter also making four interceptions.

Stoke will be looking to kick start their season with their first victory of the new term and will want to inflict City’s first home defeat since the 3rd February loss to Chelsea. With this Stoke will need to make sure their strikers are on top form to break down a resolute defence, whilst remaining equally solid at the back.

One man who will prove crucial, is captain Ryan Shawcross. The former Manchester United trainee has scored Stoke’s only goal of the year so far and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that he is the only member of the Stoke squad to hit the target more than once this year with his two attempts on target. More important is Shawcross’ strength in defence, which has seen him complete 30 clearances; more than anyone else in the Stoke squad. He has won all five of his tackles, completed two blocks and made a further interception. His resolute defence will need to be at its absolute best this weekend.

Against the powerhouse, multi million pound Man City midfield, Stoke will have to be at their best to handle such a force. Steven Ireland has had a solid start to the season and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has completed 92.86% of his passes; more than any other Stoke outfield player. He also has four interceptions to his name, and it is both ball retention and interceptions that could prove the difference come Saturday.

Going forward, Stoke have signed a Champions League and La Liga winner in Bojan, who they hope will be able to maintain his work rate on Saturday. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has attempted 11 dribbles and it will be difficult to stop him in full flow for any defence. His six crosses and two interceptions show his willingness to work for the team.