Man City's title march continues

Man City's title march continues
From ESPN - March 12, 2018

STOKE-ON-TRENT, England -- Three quick thoughts from Manchester City's 2-0 Premier League win over Stoke at the bet365 Stadium on Monday.

1. Man City's title march continues

If there were any doubters left that Pep Guardiola's philosophy wo not work in the Premier League, the final argument must surely now have been buried by a victory on a notorious wet and windy Monday night at Stoke City.

The gritty Potters are seen as the ultimate English test for the flamboyant passing style of foreign coaches, but City's march to the title never realistically looked like suffering a hiccup at the bet365 Stadium.

It was not an entirely comfortable evening, but City did enough to reinstate their 16-point lead at the top of the table and now just need three wins for Guardiola to secure his first title in England. It could be done even earlier with the dream scenario for City supporters still on: clinching the crown against United in a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

But that game is four weeks away with City now facing a 19-day break before their next fixture. In the meantime, they can enjoy a warm-weather break to Abu Dhabi and catching up with owner Sheikh Mansour, who cannot have expected more this season despite another lavish spending spree in the summer.

And Guardiola's side will be delighted to head for the sun immediately after the game and a chance to recharge their batteries following a night of old-school Stoke. Paul Lambert's side have reverted back to the loud and uncomfortable tactics that had made it so unpleasant for visitors when Tony Pulis was in charge.

It did not work in the early stages, with City enjoying more than 80 percent possession and cutting open the Stoke defence inside 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling, back for his first start in five games after injury, cleverly exchanged passes with Gabriel Jesus before laying the ball back for David Silva, who did not need to break stride to smash his shot past Jack Butland.

Stoke tried to battle their way back into the game. Badou Ndiaye went close to an equaliser with a deflected shot from the edge of the box while Kyle Walker almost put through his own net with a mis-hit challenge.

But City took total control after half-time, and in the 50th minute Silva added a second, looping a shot over Butland after more good work from Jesus.

Sterling, Leroy Sane and Walker should all have added more goals in the second half, but a mixture of Butland saves and wayward shooting meant Stoke at least managed an improvement on their 7-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in October.

2. Silva shines again

There are few players in England who know what's needed to win Premier League titles more than David Silva, and the Spanish international looks destined to secure a third medal as a City player. With a young City forward line of Jesus (20), Sane (22) and Sterling (23), Silva stepped forward on an awkward night.


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