Manchester City failed to utilize chances to go second on the Premier League log by sharing spoils of a 0-0 draw with visitors Stoke City at the Etihad.
Stoke provided an unexpected obstacle for the Citizens to stir up their title campaign right at their back-yard. Mark Hughes, the first manager of the Sheikh Mansour era, frustrated Pep Guardiola. His side held Man City’s run of four consecutive Premier League wins in a stalemate.
Realistically, Manchester bigwigs had the chances to narrow the gap from leaders Chelsea to eight points but they never took the advantage. They remain behind Tottenham due to goal difference. However, chances were few to create goals needed to kill the game.
The side has been enjoying feasts of goals in recent days as they humiliated Monaco 5-3 in their Champions League tie and beating Huddersfield 5-1 in the FA Cup round of 16 .Things looked totally different compared to the dominance in few days as little happened before goal.
As a result, Guardiola was forced to bring on David Silva in the search for a goal. The Spaniard was lively as he curled a shot inches past the post and delivering the corner that Nicolas Otamendi headed just over the bar.
Sergio Aguero looked absorbed by the rocky Stoke defense and elsewhere Jesus Navas was predictably poor. Leroy Sane offered much among the attackers but nothing came in reward. Kevin de Bruyne, as he does created a couple second-half chances but all went in vain as Stoke proved equal to task.
The result comes as a blow to Pep Guardiola’s coached side in their bid to challenge for the title race.Meanwhile,pressure still mounts on the Spanish tactician to win trophies for the club. He has won major trophies with Spanish giants Barcelona before heading to Germany to claim the Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere, the results marked a much better defensive effort by Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi who were solid in defense line. Stoke City had plenty of eager accomplices defending from the front and managed to take their tally to 36 points. Although few ever thought they would go down, they are almost safe.