City Travel To Stoke Tonight

Compassionate Pep welcomes Silva back into City squad for trip to Stoke
Man City seek end to unhappy Mondays at Stoke
Author

13 March, 2018

If they win at Goodison Park by the end of March, they could seal the title on derby day with a win over city rivals, United.

Stoke threw the odd punch here and there and City keeper Ederson had to backpedal furiously to tip the ball over after Kyle Walker sent it looping towards his own goal in his hurry to snuff out Jese.

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. There aren't many matches left for them to find inspiration.

Guardiola also recalled Raheem Sterling to the starting XI, the England worldwide having missed nearly a month because of injury.

Stoke tried to battle their way back into the game.

David Silva inspired the latest win for the runaway leaders, scoring in each half by finishing off sumptuous team moves that have been the hallmark of City's season.

With an worldwide break on the horizon, City are next in action against Everton on March 31 before welcoming United to the Etihad Stadium on April 7 - which could see Guardiola's men secure their third Premier League crown and first since 2014.

Former Barcelona manager Guardiola won 14 titles in four seasons at his boyhood club and seven in three years at Bayern Munich.

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"He controlled the tempo ideal", Guardiola said. He is shy, and he doesn't speak too much. "He makes a step forward and that is so important".

Despite Silva's double, Stoke were determined not to be hammered this time around and offered stern resistance.

Lambert has tightened the Stoke defence since his arrival in January, but their lack of goals or even threat is a big concern to their hopes of beating the drop.

Stoke went in at half-time full of heart that they might find a way back but Silva had other ideas. Only two Stoke players have been involved in more in a single campaign in the competition (Marko Arnautovic 17 in 2015-16, Mame Biram Diouf 14 in 2014-15). It's not really clear if City were cynical, or just disagreeing with Stoke, but Stoke are seriously hacked off.

There are doubts over the availability of Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph - available after serving his three-match suspension - with the trio struggling to prove their match fitness ahead of the game.

Aside from that, Stoke were chasing the ball. The Englishman should have Bruno Martins Indi for company, with Moritz Bauer and Kostas Stafylidis likely to be the full-backs.

By the time Silva claimed his, and City's, second goal from the first attack of the second half, it was hard to see a route back for the home side.


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