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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: 'David Silva controls the tempo'

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: 'David Silva controls the tempo'

This will certainly make City favourites for victory at the Bet 365 Stadium on Monday night.

City moved a step closer to winning the title following Monday's routine 2-0 win against lowly Stoke City, which restored their 16-point lead over neighbours United.

It seems only a matter of time before Manchester City are crowned Premier League champions.

The good news for them is that they're not so far down the table that safety is nearly unreachable: only one point separates safety and relegation, and there are at least four teams right now that are out of the drop zone but still very much in danger.

Prediction: Manchester City demolished Stoke City 7-2 in the first leg fixture at Etihan Stadium.

Guardiola said: "We can not forget Gundogan played in the past month a lot of games - I think all the games, 90 minutes, except the last one".

The Senegalese has joined Lee Grant (wrist) and Stephen Ireland (calf), but the striker is the only pressing injury concern.

Kevin Wimmer and Saido Berahino may return to the match-day squad. Joe Allen will bring the energetic presence, and will look to add to the numbers in midfield and attack with his work-rate.

With Mame Biram Diouf injured and Saido Berahino bereft of confidence after going without a goal in more than two years, Lambert opted to give Jese his first start since October. Guardiola may therefore be forced Gabriel Jesus after the Brazilian recovered from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for months. Apart from Aguero, Benjamin Mendy is a confirmed absentee, although the Frenchman has returned to training and is set to be available next week.

Meanwhile, City will assess the fitness of Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho.

57' - FERNANDINHO SHOT - Fernandinho hits the side-netting after being slipped in by De Bruyne.

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.

There are a smattering of young English players in Europe's top five leagues including former City winger Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund.

Indeed, the Citizens have only won two of their nine Premier League trips to the Bet365 Stadium (D5 L2), though these have come in their last three visits there and both by a 4-1 scoreline.

David Silva was the beneficiary of well-executed build-up play from Manchester City, scoring twice in a routine win at Stoke.

Pep Guardiola admits he is not sure if he has the stamina to follow Alex Ferguson's example and build a dynasty at Manchester City.

Can he spring a surprise?

Stoke's recent form has been atrocious too.

"I understand for the fans, okay, but the important thing is to be champions". With Pep Guardiola & co. not having a game for three weeks after this one, the league leaders can launch quite an onslaught on the Potters. Offensively, Stoke are very dependent on Swiss global Xherdan Shaqiri, who has scored a team-best seven goals and six assists.