FootballManchester City

City now unbeaten in six straight home matches

De Bruyne and Sterling score in 2-0 win over Fulham

Climbing up the charts

 Manchester City moved temporarily into the top five of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Fulham.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne were more than enough for the Blues to see off the Cottagers.

Game Story

 This matchup on paper was billed as a David Vs Goliath with City touted to compete for the title and Fulham just looking to stay afloat in the top-flight.

It lived up to its billing in this one except with a much different ending than the traditional David and Goliath story.

Three minutes in and City were already threatening.

Riyad Mahrez threaded a nice through-ball to Sterling who went for goal with the outside of his right boot.

Alphonse Areola did well to spread himself and make a nice save.

Two minutes later and City were on the board.

De Bruyne opens up the Cottagers backline with a perfect through-ball to Sterling who beat Areola with a nice low strike in the bottom right corner.

In the 13th minute De Bruyne had a chance to double the advantage after he was sent it by Mahrez.

His shot was deflected on the way through and Areola did well to turn it aside.

City took a 2-0 lead 13 minutes later when Joachim Andersen brought down Sterling in the box.

De Bruyne kept his composure from the spot sending Areola the wrong way.

Fulham nearly pulled one back on the half hour mark.

A clumsy backpass by John Stones sent the ball towards the City goal but fortunately for Ederson and the Blues it goes just wide.

Into the second half the chances continued for City.

Some great work from Gabriel Jesus sent De Bruyne in the left inside channel.

The Belgian unleashed a nice left-footed shot that hit the bar, and he volleyed his rebound over the bar.

Areola was called into action in the 57th minute again to keep the Blues at bay.

It’s De Bruyne again on a City counter surging into the inside left channel, but the French keeper came out to save the day.

In the 76th minute, Ederson got called into action to make a rare stop.

A great feed by Anguissa to Cavaleiro as the Portuguese international let fly a left-footed drive that Ederson did well to parry and cover-up on the second attempt.

The last chance for Fulham came in the 80th minute when Lemina won a ball down the right leading a nice counter upfield.

He found Cavaleiro in space but his shot went wide.

On a Roll

 Today’s victory makes City unbeaten in its last six matches at Etihad stadium.

They continue to dominate Fulham and are now unbeaten against the Cottagers in their last 16 encounters, winning 10 in a row by an aggregate score of 29-3.

Setting some goals

 In their last two Premier League games City’s scored as many goals (7) as they had in their previous seven fixtures (7).

Conversely, Fulham has conceded more goals (21) than any other Premier League side this season.

Who needs Subs?

 Interestingly City manager Pep Guardiola didn’t use a single substitution in this match.

It’s interesting because the Spaniard has been one of many managers pushing for the EPL to increase its substitutions to five per match.

The EFL moved to that format last month.

The Premier League currently only allows three subs in a game.

Man of the Match

 Kevin De Bruyne was in fine form as he usually is for City in this one.

City’s number 17 put on a masterclass performance undressing the Fulham defence with brilliant vision all-game long.

The Belgian was the puppet master pulling the strings in midfield.

He picked out Sterling for the opener just five minutes in.

He finished coolly from the spot in the 25th minute.

In the second half, the City side including De Bruyne seemed to be content with the result.

Still, though De Bruyne came close to a second hitting the woodwork in one of six shots he had in the match.

Earning a Spot

 Raheem Sterling got his first goal for the Citizens in the Premier League since mid-October.

His tenacity in the 25th minute earned City a spot-kick.

It’s the 20th time the Englishman’s won a penalty for his side in the Premier League.

No player in league history has won more than the 25-year-old.

Managers Words

 City boss Pep Guardiola says the teams made great strides in the past few weeks.

“We were far away – seven or eight points – weeks ago, now we are there. It is important.”

“We have played one game less so we will see at the end of this weekend (where we are) but the important thing is the feeling of the team.

“There is commitment without the ball, and with the ball, we are going to improve.”

Where things stand

With this win City temporarily move into fifth place in the standings with 18 points while still holding a game in hand.

Fulham is clinging to 17th place just outside the relegation zone but with West Brom still to play this weekend.

Next Up

City remains in Manchester as they now prepare to face Marseille in their final group game of the Champions League.

Guardiola’s men already have first in the group locked up so it’s likely you’ll see wholesale changes to City’s lineup for Wednesday’s match.

The kickoff from Etihad stadium is at 8 pm.

Their next Premier League action is the match all Manchester fans wait for each season, the derby with Manchester United.

That match goes next Saturday from Old Trafford at 5:30 pm. (JSL)

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