Bernardo Silva

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Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Manchester City

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  • Man City beat Stoke 7-2 on Oct. 14
  • Aguero misses out
  • Man City leads all-time 50W-25D-37L

Manchester City can eclipse the 80-point mark and extend its Premier League table lead back to 18 with a win at relegation-threatened Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via

Man City has is unbeaten in four matches with Stoke, outscoring the Potters 15-3 in three wins.


The latest of those was a 7-2 at the Etihad Stadium, with Gabriel Jesus scoring twice, plus goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David SilvaFernandinho and Bernardo Silva.

Jesus figures to feature again, as Sergio Aguero announced he’s set for a couple weeks on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury in training.

Stoke is a point back of safety but carries the worst goal differential in the league, but has improved its defensive record in recent weeks. Paul Lambert‘s men have three clean sheets and just one loss — albeit with one win — in their last six.

What they’re saying

Kostas Stafylidis of Stoke on facing the leaders“We have to fight, fight, fight for… 90 minutes, 98 minutes, or I don’t know how many. Of course it’s going to be hard, they are the best team in England, one of the best in Europe, but in the Premier League you never know.”

Man City’s Guardiola on building the team“The club is good because now it is easy to say it is going well but it happened the same last season. That means a lot to me. In the bad moments I saw how the club reacted and supported me and when I wanted to talk about plans for the future they were there. There were no doubts about that. We had doubts because we didn’t win but not doubts about what we had to do.”


Stoke’s aforementioned and improved defensive record hasn’t come against a run of world beaters, and Man City should be too much. Gabriel Jesus is unleashed with a pair of goals in a 2-0 win.

Man City’s Guardiola: “In second half we forgot to attack”

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Pep Guardiola is a little bothered by Manchester City’s second leg loss to Basel, as inconsequential as it should stand in the great scheme of things.

City lost its first home match since 2016 on Wednesday but still advanced to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-2 aggregate win over Basel.

[ MORE: Spurs 1-2 Juve | 3 things from Wembley ]

And while the hosts did have a stylish goal from Leroy Sane to Bernardo Silva to Gabriel JesusWatch that here — Guardiola says there was an absence of intention from his men for most of the match. From the BBC:

“The first half was quite good but in the second half we forgot to attack, we forgot to play. When we pass the ball we do it to move through the opponents to attack – just to pass the ball for itself (like we did) is nothing and the second half was really, really poor.

“It is not easy to play with a 4-0 lead. We tried, we spoke about that and I think what we showed in the first half we showed we wanted to win the game. We created a lot of chances and we were good. But after 1-1 in the second half, it didn’t happen. We just passed for itself and when that happens, that is not football.”

City heads to Stoke City next. The draw for the UCL quarters is March 16, and the legs will be played April 3-4 and 10-11.

Man City loses, advanced to UCL quarters on aggregate

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  • City advances to 2nd quarterfinal in 3 years
  • First home loss since Dec. 2016
  • Jesus scores lone City goal

Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang scored for Basel, who became just the fourth team to beat Man City over 90 minutes this season, but the Premier League hosts advanced to the UEFA Champions League Final with a 5-2 win on aggregate at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Gabriel Jesus scored Man City’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss, as City goes onto the UCL quarterfinals after a year away from the final eight.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

City handed a start to 17-year-old Phil Foden and brought in 18-year-old Brahim Diaz after 66 minutes

Jesus may’ve thought Bernardo Silva‘s pass would find him near the back post, but it’s unlikely he expected Man City’s opener to come through not one but two defenders’ legs.

Leroy Sane drove across the heart of the Basel defensive third to find Silva, and the Portuguese playmaker sent a cross back post that Jesus tapped in for 1-0.

Basel leveled the leg at one through the young Norwegian-Moroccan attacker Elyounoussi, a name you’ll likely hear in the transfer rumor mill soon.

Elyounoussi took the ball in the center of the pitch and rifled his shot past Claudio Bravo.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

WATCH: Silva’s pass for Man City goal megs two defenders

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Artwork, and it needed two teams.

Manchester City opened up the business end of its pretty much completed tie with Basel in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 with an aesthetically-pleasing goal.

[ MLS: Twenty-three* thoughts from Wk 1 ]

Leroy Sane drove across the heart of the Basel defensive third to find Bernardo Silva, and the Portuguese playmaker sent a cross back post that Gabriel Jesus tapped in for 1-0 (Basel would equalize through Mohamed Elyounoussi to make the aggregate score 5-1).

Oh, by the way, that pass megged two Basel defenders like twins in a stylized movie (for Basel supporters, perhaps Kubrick’s Grady Twins?).

Three things learned from Man City v. Chelsea

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MANCHESTER — Manchester City continued their procession towards the Premier League title as Pep Guardiola‘s side beat Chelsea 1-0 to seal a 14th consecutive home league win and increase their lead atop the table to 18 points.

[ MORE: Conte defends Chelsea

The lone goal of the game came seconds in the second half with Bernardo Silva slotting home, as Antonio Conte‘s set his Chelsea side up in an ultra-defensive system and they never looked like getting anything from this game. The reigning champs were outclassed by the champions elect.

Here’s what we learned from the Etihad Stadium as City edged closer to the title.


With four more wins needed to secure the Premier League title, Man City can be excused for easing to the trophy.

Their 1-0 win against Chelsea should have been by a far more comfortable scoreline but Guardiola’s men didn’t need to force the issue as they cantered to their 25th win in 29 games. Just as they did at Arsenal on Thursday, City dispatched a top six side easily and at times in the second half they were at walking pace as the knocked the ball around and created chances whenever they wanted to.

City had 71 percent of the possession and 13 shots to Chelsea’s three and this was one of the easiest 1-0 victories you will ever see.

Guardiola’s side are in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday with their last 16 tie against FC Basel all but over after a 4-0 first leg win in Switzerland. That means City can rest players in midweek before they face Stoke City next Monday.

City want to get the PL title wrapped up as soon as possible and you feel as though they’re playing with the handbrake on. They’re that good they could stick the car in reverse and win at a canter.

At times Chelsea threatened on the counter in the second half, but any slackness from City was followed up an attack which nearly lead to a goal. City will be worthy champions when it is all confirmed, and once again they dominated a rival with incredible ease.


“Stay! Stay! Stay!” that was the word bellowed time and time again by Antonio Conte in the first half as he urged his Chelsea team to stay tight in what often resembled a 5-4-1 formation.

They didn’t muster a single shot on target during an awful display.

Much like their recent draw with Barcelona in the Champions League, Conte set Chelsea up not to lose as Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard were the three forwards and Hazard was particularly frustrated as the false nine.

Balls were hoofed up to Hazard time and time again, with the Belgian wizard looking to the heavens in disgust. In midfield the loss of N'Golo Kante through injury left Conte without a true defensive midfielder as Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas struggled to contain City’s fluid attack and provide a substantial shield for the back three.

In attack there were ironic cheers from City’s fans whenever Chelsea got a corner and they looked devoid of confidence on the ball with so many needless giveaways.

It appears that Chelsea’s players are checking out and Conte continues to underwhelm as the Blues have now lost four of their last five games in the Premier League. Five points off the top four with nine games to go, Chelsea only play two of the current top six (Tottenham and Liverpool) in the final months of the season and you wouldn’t bet against them going on a run which sees them creep back into the top four.

However, the manner of narrow defeats at Man United and Man City in the past two weekends has summed up just how far Conte’s side have regressed since they were crowned Champions of England last May. The Blues have won just once in five games away at the big six this season, while for the first time in 14 years they have lost four-straight games away from home in all competitions.

All of that adds up to an unhappy dressing room…


Eden Hazard trudged off the pitch as he was replaced by Alvaro Morata in the 90th minute on Sunday.

He didn’t shake hands with Conte and looked miserable in the pouring rain in Manchester. He looked that way all afternoon.

The Belgian forward did not look happy at being asked to play in a false nine position once again, with long balls lumped forward towards him and Hazard throwing his hands in the air whenever that happened.

A moment in the second half summed up how Hazard and his Chelsea teammates didn’t appear to enjoy playing in Conte’s defensive style.

Hazard tried a clever flick 40 yards from his own goal and gifted the ball straight back to Man City and his manager stood with his arms out as he questioned Hazard’s actions.

They’ve now got a mountain to climb just to finish in the top four, plus reach the last eight of the Champions League, and Hazard will continue to be linked with a move to Real Madrid as his attitude summed up the cloud hanging over Chelsea right now.

This all seems incredibly familiar to the way Hazard and Co. checked out when Jose Mourinho deployed extreme defensive tactics back in the 2015-16 season.