Classy City return to pole position
Goals from Bernardo and Sergio Aguero sent City back to the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham. The majority of the hard work was done in the first half with the Blues going two goals up inside half-an-hour and though the margin of victory could have been greater, nobody will be complaining as City continued where they'd left off before the international break. What happened? On a glorious West London early afternoon, City began like a team looking to put the game to bed at the earliest opportunity with Fulham pinned back in their own area from the kick-off. Aguero saw an early chance saved by Sergio Rico on four minutes, but it felt inevitable that it wouldn’t be long before the Blues scored – and just two minutes later, that’s exactly what happened. How Fulham didn’t fall further behind in the minutes that followed is a mystery with Kevin De Bruyne, Aguero and Raheem Sterling all going close. Fulham were guilty of staying too deep and overplaying with their poor distribution causing self-inflicted problems time and time again. And it was another error, this time from full-back Joe Bryan, that led to City doubling the lead on 27 minutes. Bernardo collected the mis-hit pass from Bryan before sliding a short pass to Aguero who moved the ball to the right before sending a delightful chip over Rico and into the net for his 30th goal of the season. It was perfect timing with the hosts just starting to put one or two decent moves together. The Blues almost added a third goal just before the break when Bernardo held the ball up on the right before spotting Ilkay Gundogan’s clever run and the German fizzed a rising shot inches past the post. Aguero was subbed just before the hour, presumably having felt a twinge of some kind and was replaced by Gabriel Jesus. There was a gentler pace to the second-half, with Fulham defending better and the Blues weren’t afforded the same amount space to wreak havoc. Kyle Walker came close to adding a third on 81 minutes when he raced on to Sterling’s pass before smashing a rising hot off the outside of the post. That was last real opportunity of the game that the Blues controlled from start to finish.
Star man: Bernardo Silva A goal, an assist and another flawless display by the hard-working play-maker. What it means… City host Cardiff City on Wednesday evening in a re-arranged Premier League game at the Etihad. The Blues will be looking to see off Neil Warnock’s men as the battle for top-spot continues to switch between City and Liverpool.
Masterful Aguero Another assist and another goal for the prolific Argentine who reached the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in his City career. He set up Bernardo’s opening goal and took his superbly with the air of a striker at the very top of his game – and the international break seems to have fully recharged his batteries for the crucial final weeks ahead.
A modern-day Manchester City legend. And when a chant of ‘One Bernard Halford’ was sang midway through the first-half, one could only imagine the smile that would have been on Bernard’s face and the pride his family must have felt when they heard it. MATCH DETAILS: Fulham (0): Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Bryan, Chambers, Christie, Le Marchand, Ayité Kebano (64’ Sessegnon), Zambo, Anguissa, Cairney (Schürrle 70’), Babel (McDonald 89’) Manchester City (2): Ederson, Walker, Zinchenko, Laporte, Otamendi, De Bruyne (Luiz Rosa 75’), Silva, Gündogan, Agüero (Jesus 57’), Sterling, Bernardo Goals: Bernardo 5', Agüero 27' Referee: Kevin Friend