In a stadium that has traditionally produced problems for Manchester City in the Premier League era, Pep Guardiola’s side coasted past Stoke City 2-0 with two goals from David Silva on Monday — gaining maximum points virtually unhindered for the second season running.
The Spaniard’s ability to fit straight back in after his temporary absences is just another small detail in a mosaic of high standards. Took both his goals with aplomb, showing his usual awareness of space, time and opportunity. A truly unique craftsman.
Adding two to the seven scored against the same opponent in October, Man City underlined their new found superiority over their once tricky rivals, moving to within two victories of this season’s Premier League title. Guardiola’s men have now won 101 points from the last 38 league games, the equivalent of a full season.
The team’s ability to build in rest periods to games is becoming noteworthy. After an increasingly easy first half, City upped the tempo for 15 minutes at the start of the second half and then closed the game back down again at 2-0. This in-game management saves legs for more testing challenges still to come.