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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Fulham struggle to lay a glove on rampant Manchester City, as they are hit for four




Fulham (0) 0

Manchester City (1) 4 Gvardiol 13, 71, Foden 59, Alvarez pen 90


The Man City juggernaut hurtling towards a fourth Premier League title in a row took another decisive step towards the trophy they seem destined to claim once more.


Fulham did their best to try and sow a few seeds of doubt, but never came close as City took control almost from the word go and never looked remotely likely to yield the floor. There was simply no sense of jeopardy.


If Arsenal harboured any realistic hopes of their west London friends doing them a favour, they were soon squashed. They are going to have to rely on Spurs or West Ham denying Pep Guardiola's men in either of City's final two fixtures - in addition to securing wins themselves at Man United and at home to Everton.


The Whites chased shadows forlornly for pretty much the entire 90 minutes on a warm Saturday lunchtime - weather which always seems a harbinger of City silverware - and they had the ignominy of finishing with 10 men when Issa Diop picked up a second yellow for a foul that gave away the fourth goal from a penalty.


It didn't take too long for City to size up what they had to do and to seize the initiative. It's what they do.


Having paid Fulham the respect of allowing them a brief spell of optimism - lasting all of 12 minutes - they then injected a little bit of pace in their first incisive attack and it was suddenly 1-0.


Josko Gvardiol is not supposed to be the key to unlocking opposition defences but he knew when to up the gears and after a quick exchange of passes with Kevin de Bruyne, he was in, sidestepping Diop before rolling the ball into the bottom corner to Bernd Leno's right. As polished as a top striker.


Marco Silva brought on Tom Cairney and Adama Traore at the interval to try to wrestle back some measure of control and maybe even get in behind that untroubled City defence, but once Phil Foden had rolled in a low shot for 2-0 just before the hour mark, the game was already up.


That goal came after Joao Palhinha had tracked back to get in a crunching tackle on Bernardo Silva - only for the loose ball to roll conveniently for Foden to finish with a smart low shot. Even Fulham's best moments couldn't make a difference, in other words.


When Gvardiol turned in a Silva chip at the far post for 3-0, the party was in full swing - Noel Gallagher among the section of carousing away fans at the Putney End. It hardly needed Julian Alvarez's injury time penalty to emphasise just what a one-sided game this had been.


Whites: (4-2-3-1) Leno - Castagne, Diop, Bassey,Robinson - iwobi, Palhinha - Decordova-Reid (Cairney h/t), Pereira (Wilson 71), Willian (Traore h/T) - Muniz (Broja 67)


City: (4-2-3-1) Ederson - Akanji, Dias, Ake (Walker 22), Gvardiol - Rodri, Kovacic (Lewis 82) - Silva, De Bruyne (Doku 75), Foden (Bobb 82) - Haaland (Alvarez 82)

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