Manchester City moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they brushed aside a struggling Stoke City.
David Silva bagged both goals, the first an emphatic finish at the end of a flowing move, the second a steered finish after a lightning attack.Embed from Getty Images
Stoke worked hard in defence but managed no shots on target, and cannot complain about the result against the Champions elect.
Stoke remain 19th, while City now only need three more wins to be crowned champions, and can still clinch the title at home to arch-rivals United on the 7th April.
As has been the way many times this season, City’s midfield of Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were majestic in controlling the game, and allowed Stoke only 24% of possession throughout.
The Sky Blues were able to call upon the returning Gabriel Jesus in place of the injured Sergio Aguero, with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Leroy Sane the only other survivors from the midweek defeat to Basel.
Raheem Sterling returned after a spell on the sidelines, and was instrumental in both goals and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
Stoke made only one change from their stalemate at Southampton a week previously, with Jese replacing the injured Mame Biram Diouf, and again the Potters failed to find the net.
They repelled the waves of City attacks for only 10 minutes before Silva stroked home, and were indebted throughout to slack finishing and heroic saves from Jack Butland which kept them in the game.
They rarely looked like scoring however, the brilliant Fernandinho consistently breaking up play and rebuilding City possession whenever Stoke looked to counter.Embed from Getty Images
The points were eventually made safe when Silva bagged his second after Raheem Sterling won the ball on halfway, before Jesus teed up the Spaniard.
Bruno Martins Indi should have done better with a volley from a freekick soon after, but normal service resumed and Sterling, Kyle Walker and Silva again all went close.
Everton are the next opponents for both Stoke and Man City, the Toffees visiting Stoke on Saturday before hosting the Citizens after the international break, as the Sky Blues have no fixture this weekend.
Written by Sam Hanys.