Citizens run riot at the Etihad as they reaffirm their spot at the summit of the table...
STOKE CITY endured an afternoon to forget at the Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City maintained their charge towards a third Premier League crown.
The Citizens were in imperious form on home soil as they inflicted the heaviest ever top-flight defeat upon Potters boss Mark Hughes.
Three goals in a 10 minute spell midway through the first half set the tone for the hosts, as they upped the ante and looked to capitalise on Manchester United’s slip-up away at Liverpool earlier in the day.
Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring 17 minutes in, ending a five game goal drought, before Raheem Sterling extended his impressive record in front of goal, by chalking up his seventh in all competitions just 90 seconds later.
When Spanish international David Silva made it three in the 27th minute then you really did fear the worst for the Welshman’s troops.
However, somehow, they managed to regroup and earn themselves some consolation going into the half-time interval thanks to Mame Diouf, whose ferocious strike flicked off John Stones before nestling in the roof of the net.
A rare foray forward gave the away side a glimmer of hope of pulling off what would have been one of the finest comebacks in Premier League history.
Then, when debutant Tom Edwards, who was unfortunately stretchered off later in the day, whipped across a sublime centre for Mame Diouf to head home a second just two minutes into the second period, you felt it truly was game on!
However, Bruno Martins Indi, who was introduced from the bench at the break alongside Ibrahim Afellay, made a crucial error at the back allowing the mesmeric Kevin de Bruyne to assist Brazilian youngster’s Jesus’ second of the afternoon.
The momentum was undoubtedly back with the hosts, and they seized the moment by notching two more goals in the next seven minutes to really turn the screw into the despondent Potters.
Firstly Fernandinho produced a genuine goal of the season contender from 35-yards to re-establish a three goal cushion before Leroy Sane latched on to another sensational ball from de Bruyne to rifle past Jack Butland from a relatively acute angle.
Stoke occasionally threatened at the opposite end, with Geoff Cameron going closest with a thumping strike from the right hand side that flicked the outside of Ederson’s near post.
It was the Citizens who went on to extend their lead though, 12 minutes from time, courtesy of substitute Bernardo Silva, who prodded home from eight-yards following good work from England ace Sterling.