13 Mar City could take title with victory over rivals United after beating Stoke 2-0
Manchester City could clinch the Premier League title by beating arch-rivals Manchester United next month following a convincing win over Stoke on Monday.
David Silva struck twice as the runaway leaders eased to a 2-0 victory over the relegation-threatened Potters at the bet365 Stadium.
The result means City need only a maximum of three more wins to be crowned champions, and two will suffice if one of them comes against second-placed United.
With a derby against United coming up at the Etihad Stadium on April 7, City could now complete the job against their neighbours if they first beat Everton in their next game on March 31.
It is a delicious prospect for any City fan, but manager Pep Guardiola is keen to play down such talk with the Champions League quarter-finals also on his mind.
Guardiola said: “The important thing is on March 12 we have 81 points. That is a lot of points. We want to be champions.
“I understand for the fans but the important thing is to be champions. When? Where? It doesn’t matter.”
City did not need to be at their best to overwhelm Stoke, who remain 19th in the table.
Silva finished fine moves early in each half to secure victory, with City enjoying 77 per cent possession against their lacklustre hosts.
City also carved out a number of other opportunities as Stoke, who did not have a shot on target, offered little.
Captain Vincent Kompany admitted the prospect of a derby-day title celebration was an enticing one, although he did not want to look too far ahead yet.
The influential defender told Sky Sports: “Everybody in the blue side of Manchester knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But (we have to be) steady.
“We have one game before then which will be difficult and then we will see. It is not going to be handed to us.”
Stoke boss Paul Lambert admitted his side were outplayed but tried to take the positives.
He said: “Sometimes you have to hold your hands up. That’s why they’re going to win the league and are in the race to win the Champions League.
“I’m delighted we didn’t capitulate and kept our spirit there.”