Football: City can't afford to falter against Stoke while Arsenal look for a quick rebound

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is surrounded by Hull City defenders during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester on Feb 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is surrounded by Hull City defenders during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester on Feb 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City's chances of winning the Premier League title for the third time in four seasons will almost certainly end if they lose at Stoke City and Chelsea beat Everton on Wednesday.

The gap between the leaders and champions widened to seven points on Saturday when Chelsea won at Aston Villa and City drew at home with Hull City.

With 14 matches to play, Chelsea have 56 points and City 49, followed by Southampton on 45, Manchester United on 44 and Tottenham Hotspur on 43.

Spurs are at Liverpool on Tuesday while Southampton host West Ham United and Manchester United face Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Southampton and Spurs maintained their challenges for Champions League football by winning on Saturday, with Saints needing a stoppage-time goal from Sadio Mane to beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0. Two goals from Harry Kane gave Spurs a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in a thrilling north London derby.

Said City player James Milner: "We can't really afford too many more slip-ups, if any. Chelsea have a big lead now but we know, more than anyone, you have to keep going to the death and anything can happen.

"But I think we have got to be pretty much faultless between now and the end of the season to get close."

Stoke stunned City when they won 1-0 at the Etihad in August and although the last four league matches between the two at the Britannia have been drawn, City must win and hope Chelsea slip up to stay in the title hunt.

Arsenal will be hoping to bounce back from their loss at Spurs with a win over bottom-placed Leicester City who will have Nigel Pearson in charge despite widespread speculation he had been sacked as manager on Sunday.

Leicester have not won at Arsenal for nearly 42 years and have been beaten there in their last seven league visits.