TONY PULIS handed home debuts to midfield pair Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi in the meeting with reigning champions Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium . . . and fellow new arrival Michael Owen was named among the substitutes.
Deadline day signings Adam and N’Zonzi were named in a five-man midfield that also included Michael Kightly and Jon Walters in the wide positions, meaning that record-signing Peter Crouch was expected to operate on his own up front.
City’s back four had a familiar look about it with Andy Wilkinson fit to return to the starting line-up after he had to come off in the draw with Wigan Athletic due to concussion, so Geoff Cameron had to be content with a place on the bench.
Another player who was declared fit was winger Matthew Etherington and he was named on a strong-looking bench along with Owen.
Etherington had been forced to sit out the Arsenal and Wigan games after picking up a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season at Reading.
The strength of City’s squad was underlined by the fact there were no places in the final matchday squad for Maurice Edu, Jermaine Pennant, Kenwyne Jones, Wilson Palaciois and Rory Delap, while midfielder Jamie Ness was sidelined by injury.
Manchester City Roberto Mancini sprung one or two surprises as Maicon, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia were brought in to make their debuts.
There were no places in their starting line-up for David Silva and Jack Rodwell, while England midfielder James Milner was a notable absentee.
Stoke City: Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Walters, Whelan, Adam, N’Zonzi, Kightly; Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Upson, Cameron, Whitehead, Etherington, Owen, Jerome.
Man City: Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Garcia, Y Toure, Nasri, Sinclair; Tevez, Balotelli. Subs: Wright, Dzeko, Kolarov, Rodwell, Barry, Silva, K Toure.