March began with the first silverware in the bag and the blues still had an opportunity to win two more. The league was close to being wrapped up, but the Champions League would be the hardest to secure. But before that, a rematch of the League Cup Final would take place.
City’s record at Arsenal wasn’t ideal, with just one win in the history of the Premier League, and the last City win before that was 3-2 October 1975. But the blues had just taken Arsenal apart at Wembley and it was expected the Gunners would want revenge.
It didn’t quite turn out that way as the blues once again raced into a three goal lead. Bernardo Silva gave the blues the lead on 15 minutes after Leroy Sane took on the whole Arsenal defence. Sane was involved in the second goal as he combined with Sergio Aguero and finally David Silva, who beat Cech to make it 2-0. Five minutes later, Sane himself made it three, converting Kyle Walkers pass.
It was a comprehensive victory that reaffirmed City as the champions elect and kept the blues sixteen points clear of United.
4th March 2018 – Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea
The match between the current champions and the soon to be new champions was a hard fought affair so far as City were concerned. The visitors failed to register a single shot on target and it seemed to be their plan to stifle City and leave with a point.
And by half time, they looked like achieving just that as they went in goalless at the break. But one minute into the second half, the blues scored what turned out to be the winner. Sergio Aguero played in David Silva, whose cross was met by the other Silva, Bernardo.
It was a game of patience for the blues, which ultimately paid off and sent City eighteen points clear at the top. The title was in sight.
7th March 2018 – Manchester City 1-2 FC Basel
Already leading 4-0 from the first leg, City took a relaxed approach to the game, but still took the lead through Gabriel Jesus in the 7th minute. But the blues were to pay for what Pep Guardiola said was a ‘failure to attack,’ when the visitors levelled ten minutes later.
With the score 1-1 at the break, City continued to fail to break down the Swiss outfit and went behind on 71 minutes. City were facing their first defeat at home since 2016 but not even the prospect of losing that record motivated them and the visitors went home winners.
The damage was done on Basel as the blues ran out 5-2 winners, and they eyed the quarter final with eager eyes. They would soon wish they hadn’t.
12th March 2018 – Stoke City 0-2 Manchester City
One of the first things that was asked when Pep Guardiola arrived at Etihad was ‘could he do it on a cold night in Stoke?’ Well the answer was yes…yes he could.
The blues were just three wins away from the title and there was the mouth-watering opportunity to win the title by beating Manchester United at home. But they had to navigate Stoke and Everton away first, two places where they had foundered in the past.
So when David Silva gave City the lead in the 10th minute, the blues fans began to dream that the team would rub their dominance over United firmly in their faces when they arrived in a couple of weeks’ time.
Silva scored his and City’s second fine minutes after the break, giving the blues their first double over stoke since the days when both teams were in the third division. City were now only two wins away from clinching the title and it would taste so much sweeter if they could win it against United.
31st March 2018 – Everton 1-3 Manchester City
Goodison Park was a bogey ground for City, and was the scene of Pep Guardiola’s heaviest defeat in England as the blues were crushed 4-0 the previous season, and the manager was anxious to avoid a repeat of that match.
So it will have been a relief to him when Leroy Sane scored a stunning volley with just 4 minutes on the clock. In recent City fashion, one became two 8 minutes later, as Kevin de Bruyne crossed for Gabriel Jesus to head home.
The match was over as a contest on 27 minutes. David Silva teeing up Raheem Sterling to make it 3-0. Everton did pull a goal back 63 minutes, but the blues held firm. If they were to win in the next match against Manchester United, the title was theirs.