Man City's title chances 'over' after Pep Guardiola's team selection, Paul Merson says
Last Updated: 09/03/17 3:25pm
Paul Merson believes Manchester City's title chances are "over" after Pep Guardiola's "bad" team selection against Stoke.
Guardiola left David Silva and John Stones on the bench, while Raheem Sterling was left out of the squad altogether as City were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Mark Hughes' Potters side on Wednesday evening.
City had the chance to cut the gap at the top to Premier League leaders Chelsea, who they still have to play, to eight points, but Guardiola's side struggled as they lost ground in the title race.
The draw leaves City 10 points behind the league leaders with 11 games to play and Merson now thinks they are out of the running.
"I don't know what Guardiola's doing," Merson told Sky Sports.
"This is the problem I have with managers who come over to the Premier League. They do not understand how hard this league is.
You've got to respect every team and from being a team that could have won the title, all of a sudden, they are out of it.
"In Spain, Italy, Germany and France they all have games where a team lies down and they just win the game comfortably.
"That's the way it is and they just move on to next week, everything is great with the top teams winning. That doesn't happen in England and that's why everybody loves the league.
"You've got to respect every team and from being a team that could have won the title, all of a sudden, they are out of it."
With Guardiola's side due to visit Chelsea on April 5, Merson thinks City have blown an opportunity to reduce the gap on Antonio Conte's men.
"A lot of people were saying Chelsea had already won it but I didn't agree because Man City still have to go to Stamford Bridge. They had a chance of keeping the pressure on and then closing the gap to five points with the game at Chelsea.
"They've blown that now because of bad team selection. He thought they were just going to wipe the floor with Stoke.
"The eight-point gap could have easily been overturned," Merson added. "If they'd have won last night then kept winning, including the game at Stamford Bridge, the gap would have been down to five.
"Then all it would have taken is for a Chelsea draw and a City win for the gap to be three points. It would have been on one game then.
"Chelsea only need a couple of injuries and then you never now but now, it's over."