David Silva double takes Man City one step closer to title

Man City midfielder Bernardo Silva

Stoke tried to battle their way back into the game. The bad news is that visiting the bet365 Stadium on Monday evening is champions elect Manchester City. Ahead of Monday's match in hand, they sit one point behind 17th-placed Southampton, but with a goal difference of -26 compared to Saints' -15.

As has been then case so many times this season, the goal came with devastating pace and precision on the counter-attack after striker Gabriel Jesus had dropped deep and become involved in build-up play.

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Manchester City's David Silva, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Manchester City at the Bet 365 Stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Monday, March 12, 2018.

Lambert's men have lost their last six Premier League games against clubs now sitting fifth or higher in the table, scoring just three goals in those matches and conceding an alarming 27.

For a Stoke side with just one victory in their previous 10 league games, it was the stuff of nightmares and, given the ease with which Guardiola's team was moving the ball around, it was hard to see a way back for Paul Lambert's men. Despite suffering a 2-1 defeat to Basel in midweek, they cruised to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 5-2 aggregate win. Glen Johnson, Charlie Adam, Ryan Shawcross, Darren Fletcher and Peter Crouch brought with them a combined career total of almost 2,000 league games - the vast majority in the Premier League.

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola says national teams can benefit when players step out of their comfort zone and make a move overseas at an early age. "He is shy, he doesn't speak too much, but on the pitch when the moment is there and the game is on, he is the guy who never hides in tough conditions when the game is not going well. I forget everything. So it's good for me to play", Silva said.

"It is a massive boost and relief to be able to play this game like we do". Though the two victories came in the last two seasons, the record before that - 5 losses and 2 draws, does not prove to be a happy reading for the champions-elect.

The midfield trio of Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva reunite with the central defensive pairing of Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi playing alongside each other in what is an unbeaten combination this campaign.

"If we try to play football the same way they do then we will be beaten - that's the reality".

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