Paul Merson predicts Stoke fixture could be the end of Manchester City's title challenge

Stoke Britannia Stadium

Former Arsenal star says Manchester City have to win against Stoke City.

Paul Merson believes Manchester City have backed themselves into a corner ahead of their midweek fixture against Stoke.

Manuel Pellegrini's side travel to the Britannia on the back of a weekend draw with struggling Hull City, and have not won a game in the Premier League since January 1.

Now sitting seven points behind league leaders Chelsea, former Arsenal star Paul Merson has told SkySports that failure to win at Stoke could be the end of their title chances. 

He said: "This might be the final nail for Manchester City’s title hopes. If they draw, it will be nine points to Chelsea, who would have to lose three games and City win all their games. I don’t see that happening.

"I don’t think Manuel Pellegrini truly understands lesser opposition. Jesus Navas probably had his best game at City against Chelsea, and then he’s on the bench against Hull. They were lucky against Chelsea, but look through their home games this season and the ones they haven’t won have been mostly against the lesser teams."

Manchester City will know that facing Stoke will not be easy, especially after Mark Hughes' side beat them 1-0 at The Etihad earlier in the season.

Stoke's home record this season has not been as daunting as previous seasons however, only the 12th best in the Premier League, losing four on home turf.

The worrying news for them is Manchester City have the best away record in the Premier League, winning 25 points on their travels and losing only one game.

As Merson points out, even a draw would be unsatisfactory for them considering their recent form, and a big performance is overdue from their talented squad.

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