MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 04:07:48
Mar 12, 2018 at 8pm UK at ​bet365 Stadium
Attendance: 29,138
StokeStoke City
Man CityManchester City
FT(HT: 0-1)
Silva (10', 50')

Live Commentary: Stoke City 0-2 Manchester City - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Manchester City's 2-0 win over Stoke City, as David Silva's brace edged the Citizens closer to the title.
Live Commentary: Stoke City 0-2 Manchester City - as it happened
© Offside

David Silva scored a goal in either half as Premier League leaders Manchester City eased to a 2-0 win over strugglers Stoke City on Monday night.

The Spain international rounded off a nice team move for the first and did likewise after exchanging passes with Gabriel Jesus for the second.

Stoke barely registered a chance all evening as their winless run stretched to a seventh match, while Man City are now two wins away from the title.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

7.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Stoke City and Manchester City at the bet365 Stadium. The Citizens are fast closing in on a third top-flight crown in six years, requiring victories in each of their next three games either side of the international break to get the job done with plenty of time to spare.

7.02pmMost tantalisingly of all is that prospect of Man City being crowned champions against arch-rivals Manchester United next month. The only way that will happen is if they remain on course with three points this evening, as they travel to a Stoke side now inside the bottom three of the division and in desperate need of a lift. Results have not been all that bad, in fairness, but there are not enough wins being put on the board.


STARTING XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, D.Silva, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Sane

SUBS: Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, B.Silva, Toure

7.06pmSome pretty big team news as far as the visitors are concerned, as they welcome back both Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho following their recent layoffs with hamstring injuries. Sterling, who boasts 20 goals in all competitions this term, has missed a month of action, while central midfielder Fernandinho has been forced to sit out the last couple of matches. Their returns provide Pep Guardiola with a massive boost.

7.08pmThere is also a spot in the starting lineup for Gabriel Jesus, who would likely have been used from the bench tonight if not for an injury picked up by Sergio Aguero in training on Saturday. The Argentina international is expected to miss no more than a fortnight, so he should be back in time for City's next league outing in a few weeks' time. Jesus netted when used from the off in the Champions League in midweek and is slowly regaining his peak fitness.

7.10pmDavid Silva sat out the midweek defeat to Basel due to personal reasons, having been granted permission to split his time between Manchester and Spain, but he is used from the off this evening in a midfield three. Kevin De Bruyne retains his spot from the last league outing - a straightforward 1-0 win over Chelsea, regardless of the tight nature of the scoreline - and is used alongside Fernandinho and Silva.


STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting

SUBS: Haugaard, Shawcross, Johnson, Adam, Fletcher, Ramadan, Crouch

7.14pmIn terms of the home side, Paul Lambert has made one change on the back of the goalless draw with Southampton a little over a week ago - a result heralded as a positive point at the time. Mame Biram Diouf sustained a shoulder injury at St Mary's Stadium after landing awkwardly and is therefore replaced by Jese Rodriguez, who makes his first Premier League start since October.

7.16pmPeter Crouch was an alternative option to use through the middle, but he is made to wait for his 10th league start of the season. Xherdan Shaqiri and Maxim Choupo-Moting will instead provide support for Jese up top, as Stoke seemingly match their opponents' 4-3-3 formation. No Kevin Wimmer or Saido Berahino in the matchday squad, meanwhile, with both being sent on programmes to improve their fitness.

7.18pmIt is as you were from that stalemate at Southampton in terms of the back four and midfield three, and Jack Butland - linked with a record-breaking move to Liverpool in the summer - will start in goal. The big question this evening from the Potters' point of view is whether Jese can get in behind Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany, or whether it will prove to be another night of frustration for the hosts' attackers.

7.20pmRaheem Sterling returns tonight after missing more than a month through injury, as does Fernandinho following a two-game absence through an identical hamstring problem. The home side show just the one change from their last outing, meanwhile, as Jese Rodriguez comes in for the injured Mame Biram Diouf for his first league start since October.

Raheem Sterling celebrates with Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Leicester City on February 10, 2018© Offside

7.22pmStoke occupy 19th place in the Premier League table heading into this final game of matchday 30, sitting one point adrift of Southampton in 17th. The Potters hold claim to the worst goal difference in the division, however, which essentially means that they need an additional point if they are to drag themselves out of the bottom three at this stage. That said, Lambert's men would do doubt accept a point if offered to them right now.

7.24pmThose three successive ninth-placed finishes under former boss Mark Hughes seem a long time ago now as far as Stoke are concerned, as they are at serious risk of facing the drop following a decade in the top flight. They actually started the campaign well enough, taking four points from Manchester United and Arsenal when losing just one of their first four matches. Since then, though, victories have been extremely hard to come by.

7.26pmThat early-season win over Arsenal is one of just six all campaign, in fact, with the most recent coming six matches ago against Huddersfield Town. Stoke's form since Lambert arrived in the middle of January can be seen in one of two ways - one defeat in six or one win in six, depending on whether you are a glass-half-full person or half-empty. The bottom line is that City are now a lot harder to beat, but they need to start turning draws into wins.

7.28pmThree successive draws have not exactly done a great deal to help Stoke's predicament, though the point at St Mary's Stadium nine days ago was a decent enough result, as they also prevented Southampton - the team in 17th place - from putting any further points on the board. City have now drawn with Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leicester and Southampton in four of their last five games.

7.30pmThe bad news for the Potters, however, is that they must still face Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in their last nine matches, putting added importance on the games against Everton and West Ham United over the next month or so. This point-a-game average from the past few weeks will only be enough to take Stoke up to 36 for the campaign; that will almost certainly not be enough to carry them above the dotted line.

7.32pmOne win in their last 10 matches, under a mixture of Lambert and Hughes, explains exactly why Stoke are in their current position. A failure to score in five of their last nine games is also a real issue, which has not helped in terms of their goal difference. The Potters are in a position whereby they will need to accrue a point more than those around them due to the inferior nature of their GD.

7.34pmDID YOU KNOW? Stoke City have one won of their 15 Premier League matches against sides that started the day top of the division, though that did come against Manchester City in December 2015. Not since April 2012, meanwhile, when Manchester United lost to Wigan Athletic, has a team at the summit lost to a team in the bottom three.

7.36pmPaul Lambert was appointed by Stoke City a couple of months ago as their third-choice option, taking over from Mark Hughes after things started to turn sour at the bet365 Stadium. Lambert has made his side hard to beat, but at the moment the Potters are drawing too many games - the stalemate at Southampton last weekend making it four in their last five matches.

Paul Lambert in charge of Aston Villa in February 2015© Offside

7.38pmPremier League leaders Manchester City are cantering to the title, even if they did see their lead reduced to 13 points by Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime. The Citizens have showed incredible consistency throughout the campaign, dropping points on just four occasions in 29 matches. They head into this game on the back of a huge fortnight that has seen them overcome Arsenal and Chelsea in the league, as well as lifting the EFL Cup.

7.40pmThe manner of the 3-0 EFL Cup final win over Arsenal sent out a message, were it needed, that Man City mean business under Guardiola. The Citizens remain on course for a domestic and European treble, having also made it through to the last eight of the Champions League with relative ease, despite losing 2-1 to Basel in their last-16 second leg in midweek. In many ways, all eyes are now on the European Cup as the Prem is essentially in the bag.

7.42pmCity have won three matches on the spin in the Premier League, scoring nine goals and conceding just one since drawing 1-1 at Burnley at the start of last month. That came at a time when the Citizens had also exited the FA Cup to Wigan Athletic in the fourth round, so the character of Guardiola's men to bounce back deserves serious praise. A quadruple would have been nice,but it looks like City will just have to settle for a maximum of three trophies.

7.44pmGuardiola's charges have accumulated 16 points from the last 18 on offer since losing 4-3 to Liverpool at Anfield, which explains just why they are considered as serious candidates for the tag of greatest ever Premier League side. Just three more wins are needed for the Citizens to be crowned champions again; four if they fail to get the job done against Man United in a month's time.

7.46pmCity have not actually won successive away games in the top flight since December, however, having been held by Crystal Palace and Burnley, while also losing to Liverpool in that memorable seven-goal affair at Anfield. They did cruise to a 3-0 win against Arsenal last time out on their travels, however, so there is a chance to get firmly back on track - strange turn of phrase when 13 points clear, granted - this evening.

7.48pmIt remains to be seen just how much City will miss star striker Sergio Aguero tonight, as the Argentina international has racked up 199 goals for the club and also boasts a hugely impressive record against tonight's opponents. Aguero has eight in eight against the Potters, including braces in back-to-back games at this ground, but we will not be seeing him tonight due to that injury sustained in training at the weekend.

7.50pmAnother player who has turned on the style of late is Bernardo Silva, who has scored in back-to-back Premier League games to match his tally from the first 25 matches upon his summer arrival from Monaco. The Portuguese is rested from the off this evening, though he may still play a part from the bench. Immediately after this game, the Citizens are planning on travelling to Abu Dhabi for four days of warm-weather training.

7.52pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Manchester City have won on two of their last three visits to the bet365 Stadium, both by a 4-1 scoreline, but those are the only victories here in nine Premier League away games against the Potters. The Citizens won the reverse match 7-2 in October and are now seeking a first double in this fixture since 1998-99 when in the third tier.

7.54pmThat reverse meeting five months ago was the second occasion in which Man City have racked up seven goals in a game, having previously stuffed Norwich 7-0 in 2013, while Stoke shipped that amount of goals for the second time - also vs. Chelsea in 2010. It was an embarrassing defeat for Mark Hughes against his former club, and in many ways would work against him when arguing why he deserved to remain in the job.

7.56pmWith kickoff in Staffordshire now less than five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Paul Lambert: "On any given day you can win a game of football. In a one-off game you can win, and that is the beauty of football. We'll do everything we can to try to win. If we try to play football the same way they do then we will be beat - that is the reality. We have to have an idea of another way to try to beat them."

Pep Guardiola: "It's almost done. But we are not the champions. The champions are still Chelsea. We have to get the points as soon as possible, knowing that we have the opportunity. I know everyone wants to anticipate the situation and what will happen, everyone is thinking about when we will win the title."

7.58pmLambert right to point out that anything can happen, although as pointed out a little earlier it is incredibly rare to see a team at the top lose to a team in the bottom three. Guardiola, meanwhile, is still trying his best to play down expectations, but even he had to concede after the 1-0 win over Chelsea that the title is now within touching distance. Three wins from their next three and the title will be heading to the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola applauds during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! We are up and running at the bet365 Stadium, where Stoke City are seeking the win that will take them out of the Premier League relegation zone. The visitors, as expected, seeing plenty of the ball early on here.

3 minBauer had to get his header to Butland spot on under pressure, and the full-back did exactly that. Most of the Citizens' possession so far has come in their own half of the field - relegation-threatened Stoke will not mind that at all.

5 minGood atmosphere inside the bet365 Stadium this evening, incidentally, with the home supporters knowing that they must play their part if there is to be any sort of upset. Man City seeking a first double in this fixture since 1998-99.

7 minNdiaye will have plenty to do in midfield this evening if Stoke are to keep the opposition out. The Senegalese has just clattered into opposite number Fernandinho to give a free kick away in a pretty promising position, which came to little.

9 minNo serious goal attempts from either side in the opening nine minutes of the match. Lambert will be happy with what he has seen from his players thus far, as they have managed to keep the Citizens' advanced players pretty quiet.


12 minFrom their first meaningful attacking move of the match, Man City carve their opponents open to take an early lead. Jesus thread the ball out wide for Sterling, who in turn looked up and spotted David Silva for the Spaniard to sweep it past Butland.

14 minAll of a sudden the atmosphere has gone down a few decibels around the bet365 Stadium. Man City have the early goal they were after; now they just need to see things through, which you would fancy them to do so on the basis of their previous 29 games.

16 minStoke had actually do pretty well up until that Man City goal and have looked stable enough at the back since. The Citizens have the ability to step things up as and when they want, though, and you would not bet against them adding a second before the break.

18 minOne-hundred-and-forty-eight passes strung together so far by Man City, who set a Premier League record in that regard against Chelsea a week ago. The Citizens not really had to get out of first gear thus far, rather worryingly for Stoke.

20 minSterling with a quick glance at the referee after Stafylidis appeared to drag him down. Not really enough contact to warrant punishment, though, and it would have been a free kick on the edge of the box, rather than a penalty kick.

22 minCLOSE! So close to a Stoke equaliser, as Shaqiri gets the better of Zinchenko down the right and then manages to spot Badou Ndiaye on the edge of the box. The shot takes a deflection and ends inches wide of Ederson's post.

24 minJust the two meaningful efforts in the opening quarter of the match - Ndiaye sending that deflected shot wide a couple of minutes ago and David Silva sweeping his chance home a little earlier. Stoke performing well enough at the moment.

26 minGabriel Jesus thought he was in on goal, but the offside flag was correctly raised. Butland was not to know that, and he made a good stop at the Brazilian's feet to prevent a simple tap-in. Sane lucky not to be cautioned for firing home the loose ball after the whistle had blown.

28 minDe Bruyne with a good cross into the box, which a couple of visiting players - namely David Silva - could not quite get on the end of. Fernandinho was well positioned to take on a shot from the edge of the box, sending it horribly high and wide.

30 minStoke just starting to look a little nervous at the box. De Bruyne is starting to take control of things from a right-of-centre position, sending in a few crosses which are not being dealt with all that well. The visitors closing in on a second.

32 minShaqiri is the man pulling the strings for Stoke - they need to get him on the ball as often as possible. A nice ball through for Jese, who initially did well but could not test Ederson with his subsequent shot. The home fans liked that!

34 minDe Bruyne nearly pounces on a loose ball at the back but Butland does well to get there first. The Belgian caught the Stoke keeper right on the ankle, initially leaving him down and clutching the part of the body that he has injured twice before.

36 minCHANCE! No idea how this cross from De Bruyne has not resulted in a second goal of the evening. A superb delivery from the right, which Jesus failed to make contact with via his head when unmarked five yards from goal.

38 minSAVE! Man City with a couple of decent openings to extend their advantage, then, while the closest Stoke have come is via a long-range shot a quarter of the way through. A looped clearance needed to be helped over the bar by Ederson.

Ederson ends up in the back of the net during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Manchester City on March 12, 2018© Offside

40 minA sloppy period in the match, with both teams making mistakes. Ederson needed to race out to clear the ball with his head, and once it went out of play he held on to it to prevent Stoke taking a quick throw-in - home fans not happy to say the least.

42 minSAVE! Butland with a good save down low, getting across to his left to push aside Fernandinho's shot from the edge of the box. The ball bounced just in front of the English keeper, so he was happy to simply shove it behind.

44 minSHOT! Not the worst of attempts from Sane, who tried sending an acrobatic volley spinning past Butland. A classic case of 'hit it too well' in the end, with the ball flying wide of Butland's goal. The German then denied by two Stoke players when played in behind moments later.


8.48pmThe referee blows his whistle for half time, bringing an end to a half that Manchester City edged to take a one-goal lead into the break. David Silva with the goal at the end of a Raheem Sterling assist, but this one is far from over at the midway point.

8.51pmFrom their first meaningful attacking move of the match, Man City took the lead via a composed David Silva finish past Jack Butland after being picked out 12 yards from goal by returning winger Raheem Sterling. The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball, stringing together well over 200 passes with a quarter of the match played, yet in the blink of an eye it could easily have been all square.

8.54pmStoke's most dangerous player in Xherdan Shaqiri got the better of makeshift left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and spotted Badou Ndiaye on the edge of the box, with the Senegalese midfielder's deflected shot spinning inches wide. The league leaders soon asserted their authority on the contest, however, with Gabriel Jesus failing to convert from a headed chance a few yards out and Butland getting down to push aside Fernandinho's edge-of-the-box drive.

8.57pmLeroy Sane was also unlucky with an acrobatic volley, while up the other end Ederson's first-half work comprised of helping a looping clearance over his crossbar. That said, Stoke are very much still in this contest and it is all to play for in the second 45 minutes in Staffordshire.

STOKE CITY SUBS: Haugaard, Shawcross, Johnson, Adam, Fletcher, Ramadan, Crouch

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, B.Silva, Toure

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch applauds the fans after being taken off during his side's Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on December 27, 2016© SilverHub

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at the bet365 Stadium, where neither manager has made a change in personnel. Paul Lambert will want more of the same from his side, with one or two chances more being created.

48 minNice play from Man City, with the ball being worked to Sterling and then de Bruyne towards the right. The cross is cut out for a corner, which the Belgian sends a little too deep. The Citizens patiently looking for a second goal here.


51 minA near carbon copy of the first half, as Man City find the net through their first shot. David Silva with his second of the evening, exchanging passes with Gabriel Jesus and knocking the ball past an outrushing Jack Butland.

David Silva scores the second during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Manchester City on March 12, 2018© Offside

53 minMan City very nearly over the line with another win here, then, leaving them requiring two more to lift a third Premier League title. Lambert urging his Stoke players on, but they have not truly looked like scoring all evening.

55 minGuardiola will want a third game just to make certain of the three points, and it is his side who look the more likely to net that third goal of the match. The away fans the ones making all the noise now inside the bet365 Stadium.

57 minCHANCE! De Bruyne slips the ball through for Fernandinho, but the Brazilian could only pick out the side-netting. Wrong option in the end, as he had a couple of teammates up with him waiting for an easy finish if spotted.

59 minSAVE! Sterling wriggles away from a couple of opponents and gets a shot in, which Butland did well to keep out with his feet. Zinchenko then has a pop, with Butland this time parrying it to safety. Stoke really holding on now.

61 minCLOSE! Man City's player queuing up to take on the shot now. German winger Leroy Sane is the latest to try his luck, curling the ball agonisingly close to the bottom corner, with Butland diving across in hope more than anything.

63 minSurely just a matter of time before the Citizens find their third goal because they are completely dominating things. Stoke unable to keep the ball out of their own final third, which will surely force Lambert into action shortly.

65 minSTOKE CITY SUB! Good play from Jese Rodriguez to win a free kick from Otamendi, who was left isolated in a wide position. The forward is taken off before the free kick can be taken, replaced by tall striker Peter Crouch.

67 minCHANCE! A rare Stoke chance as, from the free kick, the ball was not cleared away and Maxim Choupo-Moting was there to lift it over the crossbar from five yards out. Near enough the closest the hosts have come all evening.

69 minApproaching the final 20 minutes of the match in Staffordshire and, while Man City have been pretty much in control right since the restart, at 2-0 the game is not quite over just yet. Stoke just need to create that one big chance.

71 minGuardiola holding off from making his first change of the evening. Fatigue not really an issue for him, as there is now a three-week gap before their next outings. Lambert has made one switch, bringing on Crouch for Jese up top.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Oleksandr Zinchenko in action during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Manchester City on March 12, 2018© Offside

73 minCHANCE! Great chance for Walker to open his goalscoring account for Man City, only to miscue his shot high into the stands from close range. The referee brings play back to caution Stoke midfielder Joe Allen for his earlier foul.

75 minSAVE! Sane with another long-distance effort, which was destined for the top corner if not for a strong pair of hands from Butland. A decent enough showing from the Englishman today, despite conceding a couple of goals.

77 minOtamendi has been down for a couple of minutes now after clashing heads with Stafylidis. Guardiola would rather have the centre-back heavily bandaged up rather than bring on Laporte, despite having Aymeric Laporte among his back-up options.

79 minCHANCE! The match has petered out a little over the last 10 minutes or so, but Sterling should have just wrapped things up for good. From the dropped-ball, Sterling showed more desire and was clean through, only to delay the shot and let Kurt Zouma get a tackle in.

81 minGabriel Jesus blasts the ball wide when the corner lands in his path at the back post. Man City will quick themselves in Stoke drag themselves back into the contest - this one should have been killed off a long time ago.

83 minLooks as though Guardiola is finally about to turn to his bench, with seven minutes left to play at the bet365 Stadium. The Catalan coach would have liked to have seen his side bag a second, but just the two goals look likely to be enough.

85 minMANCHESTER CITY SUB! Raheem Sterling is replaced by Bernardo Silva in the Citizens' first chance of the evening. The oncoming attacker has scored in back-to-back Premier League games and has time to extend that run here.

87 minHome fans urging their team on now - they know that one goal will change everything, regardless of how late in the match we are. Such a composed and professional display from the Citizens, leaving them on course to wrap up the title in a month's time.

89 minSTOKE CITY SUB! Ramadan Sobhi is on for Geoff Cameron as Lambert takes a late gamble. Word is that five minutes are to be added on here due to that injury to Otamendi, so there is still time for a late twist in Staffordshire.

90+1 minMANCHESTER CITY! Guardiola running down the clock now by bringing on Ilkay Gundogan for Gabriel Jesus, who will be delighted to have gone 90 minutes under his belt tonight - and an assist to go with it for Silva's second goal.

90+3 minWe have now played three of the five added-on minutes at the bet365 Stadium. Man City continuing to boss possession right until the end, still searching for a third goal to go with their well-deserved three points. Guardiola will be delighted.


9.56pmAs easy as you like for Manchester City in the end, as goals early in either half from David Silva gets them over the line for another three points. Sixteen points is their advantage at the top of the Premier League now, meaning that wins in their next two games will earn them a third Prem title.

9.58pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at the bet365 Stadium. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from Man City's comfortable away win can be found elsewhere on the site in due course. Thanks for joining!

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David Silva in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Manchester City on December 10, 2017
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