LONDON (SE) - Another match day approaches, another high-profile transfer waits in the wings for his debut.
Such is the case for reigning champions Manchester City, who may give Maicon his first action Saturday at Britannia Stadium when they play Stoke City.
Not willing to sit idly by after finally winning a title, City opted to shore up their backline by acquiring the Brazilian international from Inter Milan right before the close of the transfer window, reuniting him with manager Roberto Mancini. The 31-year-old has 66 caps for the Selecao, with whom he played last week during the international break as they prepare to host the 2014 World Cup.
Maicon's addition means Mancini may be leaning towards using the 3-5-2 formation he experimented with prior to the season. City (2-1-0) have given up five goals in their three matches without posting a clean sheet - they had 17 shutouts in 2011-12 - but did defeat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 on Sept. 1 when Edin Dzeko snapped a 1-1 draw in the 61st minute before assisting on Carlos Tevez's injury-time tally to salt away the three points.
Despite currently holding fourth, Vincent Kompany knows his team must improve its play to begin making a move worthy of successfully defending its title.
"We generally give few chances away, but when we have so far in the opening weeks, we've been unlucky because teams have punished us," the Belgian told the team's official website. "I think this season will be a lot more competitive than last year - just look at the talent that has come into the Premier League this season.
"I don't think any sides around us are weaker - they have all strengthened so getting victories at this stage is the most important thing."
Those victories at Britannia have been hard to come by for City, who needed to rally for a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season as Yaya Toure's 76th-minute goal canceled out a spectacular volley from distance by Peter Crouch in the 59th.
Stoke City (0-3-0) have a four-match home unbeaten streak over Manchester City with one victory and three draws. The Potters are 12th in the table after scrambling to a 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic on Sept. 1, with Crouch scoring on a header in the 76th minute to secure a point.
Like Mancini, Potters boss Tony Pulis may debut a new marquee player for this match as veteran forward Michael Owen has had a week of practice with the squad during the international break. Pulis, however, played coy on whether the 32-year-old Owen - who has 149 Premier League goals - will be with the side this weekend.
"He's come back a lot fitter than we thought he would, but it's too early to say whether he can play straight away," Pulis told the team's official website. "We'll try to get him involved if we can - he wants to play - but he's like every player you work with; they want to play and Michael's no different."
Even without Owen, Stoke may be hard-pressed to retain possession enough to generate scoring chances on offence. The Potters have taken only 34 shots - the fewest of any Premier League team that has played three games. Additionally, City monopolized possession in both matches versus Stoke last season, holding the ball for 67 percent at Britannia and 76 percent in a 3-0 romp at the Etihad in which they completed 805 passes.