Kevin de Bruyne was unsurprisingly at the heart of proceedings as Manchester City eased past Fulham with a 2-0 victory on Saturday.
Belgium international De Bruyne’s pass allowed Raheem Sterling to open the scoring early on. Twenty minutes later, the midfielder slotted home a penalty to put the hosts 2-0 in front.
In the second half, the hosts continued their dominance despite not adding any more goals.
Interestingly, City‘s second goal of the afternoon was their 400th in the Premier League under manager Pep Guardiola, with that tally being set after 162 games in charge.
City thrashed Burnley 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium last weekend and they looked in a similar mood this time around. After five minutes, Sterling collected De Bruyne’s pinpoint pass before finishing with a low strike across goal.
And while Fulham did have rare attacking opportunities peppered throughout the opening 45 minutes, it was all City.
On 26 minutes, Sterling went down under Joachim Andersen’s challenge, with De Bruyne sending Alphonse Areola the wrong way from 12 yards.
City continued to dominate throughout the first half, with Fulham never threatening their hosts’ penalty area.
Indeed, the half-time statistics pointed to City’s good showing. Pep Guardiola’s men had 75 per cent possession and outstripped Fulham for shots (10 to three). Five of City’s shots were on target.
City slickers do not let up
City continued in exactly the same vein in the second half. After the game was end-to-end in the opening exchanges, De Bruyne could have had a hat-trick by the hour mark.
In his first chance after 50 minutes, he received a pass in the area from Gabriel Jesus but his effort crashed off the bar.
Eight minutes later, De Bruyne ran clear with Fulham’s defence behind him. But, one-on-one with Areola, the Paris Saint-Germain loanee came out and made a strong save.
Ademola Lookman was one of Fulham’s liveliest players in their efforts to spark something of a revival.
While he had the ball pinched in midfield on one occasion, he was then denied by a tight offside call just as he was about to square the ball across the six-yard area.
But City kept coming and they had another chance to add a third when the ball flashed wide of the near post from a good attacking move.
The result moved the hosts up to fourth in the Premier League table ahead of the weekend’s other games.
Fulham, meanwhile, remained on seven points.