Manchester City

Man City 4-1 Fulham: Player ratings as Cityzens survive early FA Cup scare

Jamie Spencer
Man City came from behind to comfortably beat Fulham
Man City came from behind to comfortably beat Fulham / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Manchester City cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Fulham but survived an early scare and had to come from behind to secure their 4-1 win.

Fulham youngster Fabio Carvalho silenced a less than full Etihad Stadium in the early stages, but City quickly turned it around through quickfire goals from Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones. Riyad Mahrez then netted twice early in the second half to make doubly sure of the result.

Fulham netted with their first attack of the game. City didn’t put enough pressure on the ball and three passes saw the visitors moved it from back to front, with Carvalho, who came close to joining Liverpool in January, slotting home unmarked in the middle of the penalty area.

But the hosts wasted little time in getting back level, keeping the ball alive after Jack Grealish had a shot blocked and resulting in Mahrez laying it off for Gundogan to finish. Stones soon got the go-ahead goal with an easy near post header, punishing Fulham for slack marking.

City might have been leading but still didn’t look like a team nine points clear at the top of the Premier League facing Championship opposition at home.

Pep Guardiola’s team got the break they needed to extend their lead early in the second half when Fulham gave the ball away cheaply and Grealish dribbled into the penalty area to be brought down. Mahrez stepped up and calmly converted the resulting spot-kick.

Fulham were ultimately the architects of their own downfall and the fourth City goal was another gift after losing the ball in a bad area. Kevin De Bruyne picked it up and found Mahrez, whose weak first-time effort deflected in off Tim Ream.

The score-line ensured the remainder of the game was played with supressed intensity, with both sets of players well aware that that outcome wasn’t going to change. There was still time for substitute Liam Delap to score a would-be fifth, only for an offside flag to rule it out.

Man City player ratings vs Fulham

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

John Stones headed City into a lead they never gave up
John Stones headed City into a lead they never gave up / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Zack Steffen (GK) - 5/10 - Didn't look convincing in his minimal involvement.

Kyle Walker (RB) - 6/10 - Left on an island by his teammates when the opening goal went in.

John Stones (CB) - 7/10 - Put City into the lead with an easy header.

Nathan Ake (CB) - 5/10 - Dragged out of position when Fulham opened the scoring. Potentially a bit rusty after a lack of football this season.

Joao Cancelo (LB) 6/10 - Didn't do enough to stop the cross for the goal conceded. Was always getting forward.

2. Midfielders

Ilkay Gundogan got the crucial equaliser
Ilkay Gundogan got the crucial equaliser / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Fernandinho (DM) - 6/10 - Patrolled the base of the midfield.

Ilkay Gundogan (CM) - 7/10 - Got City level straight after going behind.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM) - 7/10 - His competitive spirit shone through and he punished Fulham for their mistakes in the second half.

3. Forwards

Jack Grealish was okay but not brilliant
Jack Grealish was okay but not brilliant / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Riyad Mahrez (RW) - 7/10 - A simple lay-off gave City their equaliser and later extended the lead himself with a penalty. His second goal could eventually be ruled an own goal after he scuffed the finish on to Ream.

Jack Grealish (CF) - 6/10 - Danced into the box to win the penalty that gave City their third goal and cushion. Will be disappointed he couldn't score.

Phil Foden (LW) - 6/10 - Lot of touches. Moved into midfield later on.

4. Substitutes

Raheem Sterling (LW) - 5/10

Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) - 5/10

Liam Delap (ST) - 6/10 - Had a goal ruled out for offside.

James McAtee (CM) - 6/10

Bernardo Silva (RW) - 6/10

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