Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City had one of the toughest away trips in modern Premier League times, and they proved that they COULD in fact do it on a ‘cold, windy night in Stoke’.
- David Silva magic still the key for City – Few can question the ability of the ‘little magician’ following his exploits during his time in the Premier League. But this match was another example of just how important he is to Manchester City. The Spaniard has scored 8 goals this season and contributed a further 9 assists to help his sides title push. Maybe his importance is greater now than it ever has been in previous seasons for the Citizens.
Not been an easy place to come to and get results over the years, so I can tell you it feels great to leave Stoke with a win. #ManCity
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) 12 March 2018
2. With 8 games to go City have both hands on the trophy – It’s been known for a while that Manchester City are going to win the Premier League. But this match really highlighted how far they have come this season under former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola. On an away trip that has claimed many a top 6 side since Stoke City’s promotion in 2008. City never seem to panic, and it was fitting to see a number of the more experienced players playing key roles both last night and all season. But with the Citizens leading the Premier League by 16 points, the title is all but guaranteed.
3. Stoke are still in big trouble – After seeing Mark Hughes sacked in early January few Stoke fans would have been inspired but the appointment of Paul Lambert. But the former Aston Villa manager has seen an upturn in results. Unfortunately for the Potters other teams in the relegation scrap have also started picking up points. The club lie in 19th position in the table but are only one point behind Southampton in 17th, and with 8 games to go Lambert will be hoping his side can survive.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) 12 March 2018
4. City stars coming good – Manchester City have also seen their players really star this season, with some key individuals developing promisingly this term. Key men Fernandinho, Ederson and John Stones have seen their stock rise along with the already world class players Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero. But the biggest surprise at the Etihad is the incredible form of young wingers Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane. Both players have been in absolutely superb form this year, with the England man contributing to 22 goals in the league this season. Sane has also been involved in 19 goals, but it is the pace and power of the wide men that has helped City to be as dominant this term. Their willingness to run has left De Bruyne in the middle with space to really damage teams. These two are absolutely vital components of Guardiola’s side.
5. Stoke players are lacking identity – When you think of Stoke in the Premier League, you think of tough, physical players who bullied their way to three points at home every week. With their strength at set-pieces being a key area they could use to exploit teams. But after the appointment of Mark Hughes in 2013, the Potters have seen an overhaul in personnel. Not just in the players themselves, but also in the type of individual the side are looking to sign. For example the signings of Mark Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Joe Allen were particularly impressive. These players represent the change in style of the side. Maybe it is that style which could cost them, as a more combative approach may be important to Paul Lambert’s side in the relegation dogfight.
As previously mentioned, Manchester City have all but secured the Premier League title. They are a side definitely on the up, whereas it is more worrying for Stoke who will look to avoid the drop this year. Lambert kept Norwich in the league for two seasons, can he do the same for Stoke come May?