David Silva scored both goals as Manchester City made light work of Stoke City in a routine 2-0 win at the bet365 Stadium, despite being without the injured Sergio Aguero.
Pep Guardiola was unable to select Aguero due to a knee injury, but the Argentina star's absence was hardly noticed as City edged a little closer to the Premier League title, with Silva stealing the show.
Any chance of struggling Stoke causing an upset looked over as early as the 10th minute, as Silva opened the scoring with aplomb after good work from Raheem Sterling, back from five games out with a hamstring injury.
The league leaders doubled their advantage early in the second half – Silva again providing a good finish after a well-worked move involving Gabriel Jesus, starting his first Premier League game of the year.
Stoke threatened to pull one back just after the hour, but Bruno Martins Indi shot over from close range and from there they looked devoid of hope as the visitors tightened their grip.
City were unable to add further goals despite their dominance, but it mattered little as they re-established a 16-point gap at the summit and secured a first league double over Stoke since 1998-99, when they were both in the third tier.
1999 – Manchester City haven’t done the league double over Stoke since the 1998-99 campaign, when they were in the third tier of English football. Nationwide. pic.twitter.com/4w2167uEgK— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2018
Much was made pre-game about Stoke's need to keep things tight and ensure they were still in the game during the final 20 minutes in order to maximise the impact of their partisan support.
But after just 10 minutes, they found themselves trailing.
Jesus released Sterling up the right flank and he played a low first-time cross into the danger zone, where Silva arrived to guide home in expert fashion.
Stoke nearly levelled soon after, but Badou Ndiaye's 20-yard effort was deflected agonisingly wide of the bottom-left corner following fine play out wide by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Although the visitors remained on top, they nearly shot themselves in the foot nine minutes before the break – Ederson tipping the ball on to the roof of his net after Kyle Walker cleared a long ball back towards his own goal.
Jack Butland had to be similarly alert a few minutes later, getting down to his left to push Fernandinho's long-range strike away.
Butland was helpless five minutes after the interval, though, as Silva found Jesus and the Brazilian played a looping return pass into the area for the Spaniard, who neatly tucked away despite the goalkeeper approaching.
Fernandinho went close to adding a third a few moments later, bursting through the middle, linking with Kevin De Bruyne and then shooting into the side-netting.
Paul Lambert introduced Peter Crouch from the bench in the 63rd minute and he made an immediate impact, heading down a free-kick to Martins Indi, who blasted over from about eight yards.
Sterling should have rounded things off 12 minutes from time when he pounced upon an error after a drop-ball incident and charged through on goal, but he tried to round Butland instead of squaring to Jesus and that allowed Ndiaye to make a last-ditch tackle.
Key Opta Facts:
- Manchester City have won 81 points from their 30 Premier League games this season – three more than they earned in the entirety of 2016-17.
- City have now scored 85 Premier League goals this season – only 11 teams have ever scored more in a completed Premier League campaign.
- David Silva has scored eight Premier League goals this season, his second highest tally in a single campaign in the competition (12 in 2014-15).
- Silva also bagged his second league brace of the campaign – he'd only scored three in his previous seven Premier League seasons combined.
- Only Jonas Lossl (50) has conceded more Premier League goals among goalkeepers than Jack Butland (49) this season.
- Gabriel Jesus has played 31 Premier League games without ever being on the losing side (W26 D5). It's the fourth longest run without defeat from a Premier League debut, after Jens Lehmann (47), Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba (37 each).
25 de junio 2018
|Don´t touch my Grizou – Pogba defends France team-mate|
|Yankees catcher Sanchez likely heading to DL|
|Messi is frustrated and hungry – Mascherano|
|Nainggolan the ´ninja´ Inter were missing, says Spalletti|
|Anthony fires back at Thunder fans unhappy he´s staying|
|MLS Review: New York City edge Toronto in Torrent´s first game|
|Watson shoots 63 to win Travelers for third victory of season|
|Iran contest not all about Ronaldo, insists Santos|
|Truex´s team use tricky strategy to win at Sonoma|
|World Cup 2018: England at home, Brazil´s party and exploding White Nights in St Petersburg|
|Pogba reveals ´issues´ with Mourinho|
24 de junio 2018
|Mascherano plays down rumours of Sampaoli bust-up|
|Sweden winger Durmaz says racist abuse ´passed limit´|
|Morgan hails ´outstanding´ Buttler century|
|Paine to discuss ODI future after England whitewash|
|Cuper unsure of Egypt future as El Hadary nears milestone|
|Koepka ´shutting down´ until Carnoustie|
|Quintero and James plot Colombia´s way through uncharted territory|
|Federer upbeat despite shock Halle defeat|
|Journalists should round on Vettel - Verrstappen|
|Poland 0 Colombia 3: Falcao´s maiden World Cup goal revitalises Pekerman´s side|
|World Cup 2018: Cossack kids, Swan Lake and the Selecao in Rostov-on-Don|
|Maria takes maiden title in Mallorca|
|Hierro: I am 100 per cent the coach of Spain|
|Busquets recognises Iniesta´s burning ambition|
|Denmark v France: Tolisso hoping for second chance|
|Eight-try Wakefield hammer sorry Widnes|
|World Cup 2018: A panda, a tapir and a nightmare for Willy in Nizhny|
|Senegal´s Wague makes African history in World Cup|
|Cilic fights back to beat Djokovic in enthralling Queen´s final|
|Neymar and Suarez among players to send Messi birthday wishes|
|Strength of Senegal and Japan´s determination could trouble England and Belgium|
|Hamilton questions Vettel punishment after Bottas´ race ´destroyed´|
|Brilliant Buttler seals whitewash in Old Trafford thriller|
|World Cup 2018: An egg-and-spoon race, vodka and the Pogbas in Kazan|
|Queiroz tells his Iran players to follow the ´three Rs´ against Ronaldo and Portugal|
|Pizzi calm over Salah threat|
|Japan 2 Senegal 2: Honda gatecrashes Cisse´s party|
|Harden should be MVP ´hands down´, says World Peace|
|Southgate optimistic over Alli recovery for Belgium decider|
|Neymar´s tears no surprise to Fagner|
|Unhappy Renard continues ref rant|
|Wallace takes BMW International title despite Olesen 61|
|Hamilton cruises back to standings summit with France win|
|In-form Kvitova defends Birmingham title|
|Southgate responds to toughest England week in record-breaking style|
|Uruguay not thinking about Portugal or Spain, insists Cavani|
|Coric stuns Federer to claim title in Halle|
|England 6 Panama 1: Kane hat-trick sees Southgate´s side sail through|
|Australia v Peru: Juric keeping the faith as Socceroos chase unlikely last-16 spot|
|England surpass class of 1966 in Panama rout|
|Nigeria v Argentina: All eyes on Messi to rescue final World Cup chance|
|NSW seal Origin series with comeback win|
|World Cup 2018: Stalin´s bunker, a space museum and Serbian specials in Samara|
|Croatia looking out for number one - Lovren|
|Heritage at back of Australian minds ahead of potential Croatia encounter|
|It may be my last World Cup - ´Realistic´ Pogba determined to reign in Russia|
|Lionel Messi´s birthday: What might the Barcelona star wish for?|
|Russia readying Dzagoev for last-16 clash|
|Germany apologised for reaction aimed at Sweden bench|
|Picture this! Sterling starts for England against Panama|
|World Cup 2018: A Russian romp, Maradona and the party in Moscow|
|Happy birthday, Lionel Messi! 10 of the Argentina star´s best goals|
|Modric worthy of Ballon d´Or, says Lovren|
|Sigurdsson ready for Croatia reunion as Iceland go for broke|
|Iceland v Croatia: Dalic to rest stars for Hallgrimsson divorce hearing|
|Men´s tennis will have to ´wake up´ after Federer and Nadal, says King|
|Tennis star Djokovic backs VAR despite Serbia controversy|
|Socceroos have deserved more at World Cup – Skoko|
|Dodgers top Mets in Kershaw´s return from DL|