David Silva sinks struggling Stoke as Manchester City close in on Premier League title

Twenty-six wins down, perhaps just two more to go. It was not the most dominant victory of Manchester City’s Premier League campaign, nor their prettiest, but this comfortable evening’s work against a struggling, spirited Stoke City puts them within touching distance of what Pep Guardiola calls their “most important” title.
Two unanswered David Silva goals coming early in each half extended City’s lead at the top of the table to 16 points. It could, perhaps should have been more as the in-form Leroy Sané and the returning Raheem Sterling ran their host ragged at times, but Guardiola’s squad will now spend the international break knowing they are on the verge of something special.
Victory in their next league fixture, at Goodison Park at the end of the month, and the crown will then be there for the taking in the Manchester derby at the Etihad on 7 April. There would be no sweeter way to win it.
The night began with a goal as slick and sophisticated as any City have scored this season and Sterling, on his first appearance since returning from a hamstring injury, played a major part in it.
Nine minutes in, the winger played an exquisite one-two with Gabriel Jesus that slipped him in behind the Stoke line. His low, drilled cross into the penalty area was weighted perfectly for Silva, who finished past Jack Butland at the first time of asking.
If there was to be a response from the relegation battlers, it was likely to come through the talents of their talisman Xherdan Shaqiri, who found himself up against not only but a raw and unversed youngster but a makeshift left back in Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Having intercepted one of the Ukrainian’s slack passes to initiate a Stoke counter, Shaqiri then nutmegged his marker and crossed from the byline to Badou N’Diaye, but the January signing from Galatasaray could only drag a deflected effort wide.
Stoke would come again though and, shortly after Jesus failed to head a Kevin De Bruyne free kick home from close range, Lambert’s side almost made their guests pay for their wastefulness. the match ended well in favour of Manchester City and now, they are a step closer to the league title with few games left to the end of the premier League season

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