Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 17 points as they swept Fulham aside 3-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
John Stones netted once again early in the second-half of the game as he guided home a free-kick before Gabriel Jesus profited from poor Fulham defending gifted to score a second. The away side’s lead was then extended even further on the hour with a Sergio Aguero penalty.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
Uncharacteristic from Fulham
Coming into their meeting with Manchester City, Fulham had been excellent, especially defensively. In their last seven matches in the Premier League, Scott Parker’s men had only conceded two goals, with five of those clashes ending in clean sheets.
That organisation and solidarity appeared to abandon them against the title favourites though with a number of calamitous errors costing them. First, Joachim Andersen’s poor clearance bounced straight into the path of Jesus, before Tosin’s sloppy foul gifted City a penalty which was converted by Aguero.
Whilst it would be harsh to criticise Fulham for not being able to keep a clean sheet against the irrepressible City, Parker will be irritated that they gave their visitors a huge helping hand in claiming three points.
Areola continues to impress
Despite Fulham’s somewhat ropey defence on the night, one player continued to impress and that was Alphonse Areola. The Frenchman, on loan from Paris Saint Germain, has been one of Fulham’s most reliable players throughout the campaign in what has been an extremely tricky campaign.
He produced another four saves throughout the game though, keeping City at bay and ensuring the defeat wasn’t any heavier than it already was.
If Fulham do indeed end up dropping into the Championship come the end of the season, Areloa will surely be exempt from any considerable blame.
Aguero is back
One man that Areola could not keep out though was Sergio Aguero, despite getting close to his spot-kick mid-way through the second period. Starting the match, it was the first time that the Argentine had managed to get on the scoresheet in the Premier League in 14 months.
It was a truly remarkable statistic considering that he is surely one of the most lethal forwards to ever feature in the top-flight of English football.
As well as City supporters, Guardiola will also be thrilled to be able to call on Aguero going forwards considering that they are still battling on four fronts in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup. If Aguero can keep chipping in with goals between now and the end of the season, it will only enhance their chances of adding more trophies to what is surely their eventual league crown. Guardiola’s troops can be backed at odds as narrow as 1/250 with William Hill to lift the title come the end of the season.
Fulham: Areola (7); Aina (6), Tosin (5), Andersen (5), Tete (5); Lemina (5) (Onomah (5), 73′), Reed (6), Anguissa (6); Cavaleiro (6) (Robinson (N/A), 80′), Lookman (6), Loftus-Cheek (5) (Mitrovic (5), 63′).
Manchester City: Ederson (7); Laporte (6), Dias (7) (Garcia (6), 75′), Stones (7); Mendy (6), Rodri (6), Silva (7) (Fernandinho (6), 67′), Cancelo (6); Torres (7), Jesus (7), Aguero (7).
Goals: Stones (47′), Jesus (56′), Aguero (61′ pen)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A