Man City march on as they kick-start Quadruple run-in with stroll at Fulham

Comments()
Getty
Pep Guardiola's side have ticked off yet another fixture on their march towards what could be an unprecedented Quadruple of trophies

One down, 10 to go for Manchester City. Or perhaps 14 to go, if they are to go on and win this fabled Quadruple.

Swatting Fulham aside is not the hardest task Pep Guardiola's side will face in their final weeks of the season, but it was another game they simply had to win. They did win, and they looked like they had plenty left in the tank, too.

Guardiola, discussing the possibility of his side dropping points in these final games of the Premier League season, actually said on Friday that he did not expect his team to do so at Craven Cottage. 

He will have done his hours of analysis, pin-pointed Fulham's weak points, and picked a strong starting line-up capable of exploiting them. If he planned out how the game would look in his head, it probably would have looked exactly like it played out on the day.

Once Bernardo Silva fired the visitors into the lead after five minutes, the result rarely looked in doubt. Fulham, as they did under different management when they visited the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, gamely tried to play out from the back, only for it to cost them an early goal.

It was Cyrus Christie who gifted the ball to City back in September and he was at it again here, handing possession to Kevin De Bruyne, who found Sergio Aguero, who found Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese, a key player for City this season, found the bottom corner.

City threatened to run riot for the next 10 to 15 minutes as Fulham looked utterly unsure of themselves. Scott Parker's side were completely incapable of playing through City, but completely incapable of doing anything else.

Sergio Aguero, Man City

Only City's comparative profligacy kept the score at 1-0 - until Fulham cut themselves apart again, anyway. This time Joe Bryan clumsily presented Bernardo Silva with the ball right on the corner of the Fulham box, allowing the winger to repay the favour and play in Aguero, who decided a quick burst of speed and a delicate finish into the far top corner would do the job, and he was right.

And that was pretty much it. For all City's first-half dominance - they racked up 18 shots in the first 45 minutes - Guardiola would presumably have hoped his side could have created and converted a few more chances without the help of Fulham's beleaguered defenders.

The closest they came in the second half was Kyle Walker striking the upright after being played in by Raheem Sterling.

But Guardiola will take it; Fulham never looked like scoring, for one thing, not to mention that this game was a rather inconvenient combination of early kick-off and immediately after the international break. If City were to lose a bit of rhythm, it could have been today. 

But really, it was never likely to be. There are more important factors at play: Fulham are too poor and, more pertinently, City are too good.

Article continues below

Just how good we will discover in the coming weeks. We can already celebrate the brilliance of a 100-point season, but Guardiola's men could even top that in the next two months.

In that time they will play seven Premier League games, and maybe two in the FA Cup, and five in the Champions League. That's if they go all the way, of course.

Tougher tests than Fulham lay ahead of them, namely a run of tricky fixtures against Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Manchester United, but on this evidence they seem ready, and capable of much more. Another one ticked off.

Close