Manchester City inch closer to title as Stoke are sunk

Doug Mendoza
March 13, 2018

City head to Stoke on Monday night looking to claim the first of the four remaining wins they need to secure the title. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition.

As has been then case so many times this season, the goal came with devastating pace and precision on the counter-attack after striker Gabriel Jesus had dropped deep and become involved in build-up play.

Derby day is drawing ever nearer and there is a chance that City could either win the title on that date or potentially receive a guard of honour from United before the match.

David Silva was the beneficiary of well-executed build-up play from Manchester City, scoring twice in a routine win at Stoke.

"I think the Premier League is a wealthy league and maybe the English players prefer to stay", he said.

Stoke have now managed just three goals in their past six games, and carried sporadic threat in a game that was effectively a free hit with no one expecting a result against the champions-elect.

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"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up - that's why they're going to win the league and are in the race to win the Champions League".

But to make that a possibility, they must beat Everton in their next game and Guardiola insists that they have to keep their focus particularly with Champions League quarterfinal games either side of the United clash. (But) steady, it won't be handed to us. When we face teams who are fighting to stay in the Premier League, it is complicated. "I think it's a good experience to move to another country and see different realities to your own", he added. "He is shy, he doesn't speak too much, but on the pitch when the moment is there and the game is on, he is the guy who never hides in tough conditions when the game is not going well".

Meanwhile, David Silva is available to return after missing the Basel clash due to personal reasons.

Consider also Stoke's awful recent record against the big boys, and the fact that they've conceded an average of 4.5 goals per game in their last six such matches, then it's impossible not to suggest an away win, even at odds of [1.25].

"Then it is best to play one game and rest for two because after six months you have to be careful to avoid a muscular injury". "They allow me to wear it before and after the game, so it's here now".

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