Fulham 0-2 Manchester City: Report, Ratings & Reaction as City Ease Back to Premier League Summit
This game didn't look much of a contest on paper and it played out as many would have expected, with Man City running out comfortable 2-0 victors over Fulham at Craven Cottage in Saturday's early Premier League kick off.
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero were enough to keep City's title charge on course as they eased past an increasingly doomed Fulham.
The hosts got off to the worst possible start as Timothy Fosu-Mensah's wayward pass set City away. Several Manchester City players were standing in an offside position but crucially not Silva who drove the ball home from the edge of the area.
Sergio Rico may have a case to claim distraction but Fulham found themselves chasing the game just six minutes in.
The home side were gradually working their way back into the fixture when Joe Bryan handed the visitors another glorious chance.
The full-back somehow failed to make proper contact with his back pass and was easily mugged by an alert Silva. The Portuguese star neatly slid the ball into teammate Aguero who shrugged off three Fulham defenders to make it 2-0.
Here's our breakdown of this one.
Key Talking Point
Fulham actually responded brilliantly to the early setback but these two clubs have had very different seasons and it was clear to see why. The gulf is quality was evident and it was largely backs to the wall for Fulham.
The Cottagers have just never really found their flow in the Premier League this season despite a strong spattering of individual talent. That lack of cohesion was on full show again as Fulham proved architects of their own downfall.
Two woeful attempts at defensive passes handed City a comfortable 2-0 lead inside the first half hour and quickly put the game beyond Fulham. The Cottagers have been preparing for Championship life for a while in truth and this was another test that exposed the abundant frailties that derailed a once-promising campaign.
Starting XI: Rico (6), Christie (8)*, Fosu-Mensah (5), Le Marchand (5), Chambers (7), Bryan (6), Ayite (7), Zambo Anguissa (5), Cairney (5), Sessegnon (6), Babel (5)
Substitutes: Kebano (6), Schurrle (6), McDonald (6)
STAR MAN - Cyrus Christie was making a timely return from injury to help Fulham's cause against the defending champions. The Cottagers showed their willingness to fight to the end by running Liverpool very close in their last fixture and were hoping for more of the same.
Fulham were reduced to a predictable few forrays forwards with the best chances coming from their advancing full-backs surging forwards. With Bryan joining in the calamitous contributions from the defence though it's the returning Irishman who deserves the plaudits.
Key Talking Point
It was business as usual for Pep Guardiola's side as they coasted past their hosts at a canter. The boss cut a frustrated figure at half time having seen his side produce 18 shots but only capitalise from a couple of mistakes.
It was a record shot tally for any side away from home this season and Guardiola knows how important goal difference could be at the end of the season. He didn't really get the response he desired in the second-half either, not helped by the forced early departure of Aguero.
The Argentine's withdrawal seemed more a precaution than anything else and it's a paltry list of concerns really for a side still very much on course for a record quadruple. If the remaining fixtures are as easy as this one there won't be any complaints for Manchester City come May.
Starting XI: Ederson (6), Zinchenko (7), Laporte (6), Otamendi (5), Walker (6), Silva (8), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (7), Sterling (6), Aguero (8), Silva (9)*
Substitutes: Jesus (5), Fernandinho (6), Mahrez (6)
STAR MAN - Bernardo Silva has been one of Manchester City's most underrated performers this season and he stole the show in the first half. Showing excellent composure to weave his way to the edge of the Fulham area and rifle home the opener for his side.
He displayed another crucial side of his game just 20 minutes later being alert to the error of Joe Bryan to create the second goal out of the nothing. A goal and an assist, you can't ask for much more from your attacking players than that.
Fulham face a short trip across London to Watford in mid-week before they play host to Everton next weekend.
Manchester City face another relegation struggler Cardiff up next before their FA Cup semi-final clash with Brighton.