It was advocated with the vast start made by Paul Lambert’s men, but as City have done through the season, they soaked it all up and clicked into gear.
“The way they play is terrific, you don’t really see it until you get close up, it’s so hard to stop”.
‘Every win brings you closer to your goal but we want to keep this standard until the end of the season and into the next season too’.
Such a quick goal completely deflated the Stoke players and the crowd at the bet365 Stadium, and even though the Blues tried to score a third immediately after the second, they eventually dropped their intensity and were content with just passing the ball around until the final whistle.
With Lambert’s tactics boards fresh in their minds, Stoke compressed their lines early to the point where their red and white striped shirts looked like prison bars in the opening exchanges as defence and midfield welded together. There aren’t many matches left for them to find inspiration.
Guardiola also recalled Raheem Sterling to the starting XI, the England worldwide having missed nearly a month because of injury.
Silva side-footed home a cross from fit-again winger Raheem Sterling to give City a 10th-minute lead, against the second-from-bottom Potters, on Monday (Tuesday NZ time).
Man City’s profligacy continued in the final 10 minutes, with Sterling taking too long to get a shot away when running through on goal, though in the end it would not come back to haunt them as they saw things through easily. The midfielder’s shot was deflected narrowly wide off the heel of Fernandinho’s boot.
Stoke threw the odd punch here and there and City keeper Ederson had to backpedal furiously to tip the ball over after Kyle Walker sent it looping towards his own goal in his hurry to snuff out Jese. Fernandinho also forced a good save from Butland from the edge of the area.
He slipped through a ideal pass for Raheem Sterling, sprinting down the right wing, and the England forward’s first-time cross picked out the run of Silva who arrived to convert without hesitation from 12 yards.
Although the visitors remained on top, they almost 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.
With the visitors freed up from that possibility, Stoke were pinned back mercilessly.
The Spaniard controlled the ball as he had controlled the game, feeding Gabriel Jesus before encouraging the striker to play the return pass with a run which couldn’t be ignored.