Last time out Pep Guardiola’s side were able to pick up an important 1-0 victory at the home of the champions, Chelsea, signalling their intent as they intend to take the trophy from London to Manchester by the end of the season.
On paper Stoke won’t provide as big a test for the current league leaders, but they could be more similar to Chelsea than initially thought. They also play a back three, and it’s likely that Guardiola could go with a similar system and lineup to the one used to defeat the West London side.
The international break may affect things in terms of fatigue, but there were no new injury worries on top of existing missing men Benjamin Mendy, and Vincent Kompany.
Sergio Agüero has been back in training this week after injuring a rib in a car accident, and could return to the side earlier than first thought.
If Gabriel Jesus has recovered from his time with Brazil and flight home from South America, then he should get the nod up front, giving Agüero some more time to recover.
Either side of him Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane should be ready to go, and Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva have played every league game so far this season so are likely to retain their places.
İlkay Gündoğan is slowly being reintroduced to the side and could make another appearance from the bench, or if the manager thinks he’s ready he could even come in to give Fernandinho a break.
Fabian Delph has been an able deputy for the injured Mendy at left back, while the Spaniard will choose between Kyle Walker and Danilo at right back.
The need to create a partnership in central defence should see John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi continue at the heart of a back four.
Ederson is likely continue between the posts after making his debut for Brazil, in a victory which ended the World Cup hopes of club team-mate Claudio Bravo and his Chile side in midweek.
This lineup should see City continue where they left off against Chelsea. Their midfield is often the same regardless of whether they use a back three or a back four, but at Stamford Bridge the full backs joined the midfield, meaning Silva and De Bruyne drifted wider between the wing-backs and wide central defenders of a side operating with three at the back.
This allowed City’s attacking midfield pair to utilise the half-spaces, and put doubt in the mid of the defenders regarding who was supposed to be marking who.
Stoke will sit deep and if they do use three centre backs then their wide players could drop to form a back five.
With Manchester United facing a tough trip to Liverpool, Guardiola will be hoping that three points here will open up a gap at the top of the table.