Why Manchester City need Stoke to stay in top flight

After gunning down the Gunners on Sunday City will now look to smash up the potters as Stoke are welcomed to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. A win or draw for City will see the Manchester Club go the whole of 2011 without losing at home, something that is certainly different from the start of the Sven era when City hadn’t scored at home for a long period of time! How times have changed. 

City have only played Stoke a total of 84 times in the league but the Potters have always been there when City have enjoyed success. Last year they were in the FA Cup final as City won their first silverware since the 1976 League Cup. However the real interesting stats come with their promotions and relegation in the top flight. In 1933 they were promoted and City won the FA Cup and the League title within four years before being relegated. 

In 1967 we were promoted to Division One and appeared with Stoke in that league until they were relegated in 1977. In that time we won four trophies and a league title before Stoke were relegated the year after our last trophy, that League Cup in 1976. Their last promotion to the top flight? 2008! The same year that our new owners took control. 

Need more evidence? Well guess who was relegated with us in 1998 into the third tier? Stoke City. We even played them on the last day of the season and beat them 5-2 but was too little too late. A year later we beat Gillingham in the play off final and their manager that day? Tony Pulis. 

Well now I am all teary eyed with memories lets get into the cold hard statistics. Last time out we beat Stoke 3-0 only a few days after picking up the FA Cup against them by a single Yaya Toure goal. 

As I said earlier we have met in the league 84 times and City have won 35 of those games and have been on the losing end only 30 times. We have always been very close in games won and lost and our goal difference hasn’t been all that different either. City have scored 112 and conceded 100 but City have always won when they needed it. Last seasons FA Cup, the game after to push us into third and maybe a game that some of you will hold up as a marker (I know I am) December 23rd 1967 (only two days over the 44th year to the day) City hosted and beat Stoke City at home by a score of 4-2. Francis Lee scored a brace while Young and Coleman netted one each, City would go on to win the League. 

PA City boy

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