All the news, views and transfer rumours from the Etihad this weekend…
Manchester City kept in touch with league leaders Chelsea with a 1-0 victory at home to Stoke City on Saturday.
The game was won courtesy of a 70th-minute Yaya Toure strike, and they will be mightily relieved having struggled to break the visitors down despite having 74% of the ball.
That dominance did not see a flurry of goal-mouth activity, with the Blues having only seven shots on target during the match.
Edin Dzeko had the best chances to put Manuel Pellegrini’s men ahead prior to Toure’s intervention, but he hit one good chance wide and another over the bar.
Speaking after the match, the City boss spoke about the importance of not getting flustered as the match ticked away.
“Stoke were defending with 10 players in their box,” he told the BBC. “It was very important to be concentrated for counter-attacks and set-pieces. Both things were important, to keep a clean-sheet and to be patient.”
The result means City are two points behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea with a game-in-hand over both.
The England international’s current deal expires in the summer and he will be moving on; although he is not yet sure where.
“My days at City are numbered but there is no bad feeling,” he said. “I’ve known for a while but there is no resentment.
“Hopefully someone is watching and wants to sign me.”
With his considerable experience and the fact that he is only 31, he will surely have plenty of suitors when the time comes to leave the Etihad.
And he may not be the only one, although this one is highly unlikely, with the same newspaper reporting that Sergio Aguero will again be a target for Real Madrid if they part with Karim Benzema this summer.
With Paris Saint-Germain reportedly readying a £40million-plus bid for the French striker, the paper reports that Aguero is top of Real’s list should they require a replacement.
Pellegrini, however, may have other ideas.
image: © Ludovic Péron