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Premier League preview: Manchester City v Stoke
30 Dec, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
Manchester City have one daunting New Year's resolution as the reigning champions roll out 2012.
They need to reduce the seven-point gap at the top of the table between themselves and arch rivals Manchester United ... and quickly.
But manager Roberto Mancini was in buoyant mood on Saturday after 10-man City took all three points in a 4-3 triumph at Carrow Road.
They will host eight-placed Stoke City on Tuesday without creative midfielder Samir Nasri, who was given his first red card in the league football in his 129th appearance against Norwich.
"I think that we showed we are there for the title," Mancini said after the seven-goal thriller.
"We won't leave this title easily and will fight every game. With 10 players the guys were fantastic.
"For us, now it is not important to look at the table.
"We only need to work, to win as many games in a row as we can, and maybe in February we will look again at the table."
Stoke, meanwhile, will look to improve on their poor form away from the Britannia Stadium and add to their impressive run of 10 league matches without defeat.
Tony Pulis' men have won only once on their travels this season but they have produced six away draws, the most in the league.
Pulis will also be unable to call upon one of his stars after midfielder Steven N'Zonzi was sent off midway through the second half of Saturday's 3-3 home draw with Southampton.
Stoke know they will face a tough prospect in City who have lost only once at home, scoring 22 goals and conceding just nine.
Edin Dzeko scored twice in the opening four minutes against Norwich and Mancini may favour the tall striker to start once again despite Stoke having a formidable back four, which has conceded less than a goal a game this season.