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Manchester City secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, marking Pep Guardiola’s 700th game in management.
The pattern of the game was established early on with the visitors camped out in their own half, and it didn’t take long for City to take the lead, with Raheem Sterling coldly fitting in after Kevin De Bruyne’s handsome pass.
The hosts had a chance to double their lead when Sterling was attacked in the area by Joachim Andersen, an opportunity De Bruyne was never going to miss as he made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
The visitors showed a bit more effort in the second half, though they couldn’t find any real quality moments as City worked their way to a routine victory.
That’s the highlight of the game out of the way, now for the ratings of the City and Fulham players.
Ederson (POR) – 5/10 – The lack of communication between him and John Stones almost led to a moment of horror, which seemed to be Ederson’s doing. He could have played the rest of the game from his chair.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 5/10 – A bit of lazy distribution when Fulham pressed high almost led to a goal, though it did chain the spirited Ademola Lookman on the few occasions Fulham did hit an attack.
John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – Only his third Premier League appearance of the season and you could tell there wasn’t much confidence in him from his goalkeeper. However, his individual performance was strong enough.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – He came out of defense with Fulham sitting deep and looking comfortable doing so. With very few defensive tasks to perform.
Benjamin Mendy (LB) – 6/10 – Caught him out of position a couple of times, but used his pace well to recover. A relatively quiet afternoon, but he got the basics right.
Rodri (CM) – 7/10 – A Premier League match as easy as it is likely to participate. He recycled possession well, broke the game, and basically did what’s good.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 10/7 – Busy and energetic in the midfield. He provided a good balance alongside De Bruyne’s class and the feisty Rodri.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 8/10 – The kind of comfortably brilliant performance we expect from the Belgian. He sat in the center of the field and pulled the strings all afternoon.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – He was already looking good with only half an hour left when he threw a superb ball to Sterling. It should have had a beautiful assist, but de Bruyne produced an unusually poor finish.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – 5/10 – Eclipsed by the two wizards on either side of him. He worked the line well, but very little to show for his efforts.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – 7/10 – Kept a cool head to score home City’s first goal and could have had a hat-trick before half time had it not been for a whimsical finish and impressive saves by Alphonse Areola . Brilliantly linked with Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne.
Alphonse Areola (POR) – 7/10 – He produced a series of good saves in the first half to at least keep his side within arm’s reach in the interval. The score could easily be four or five if it weren’t for the loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
Ola Aina (CB) – 5/10 – A half volley from 40 meters that barely had the power to go into a goal kick tells you everything you need to know about his afternoon. He didn’t make any glaring mistakes, but the front line of the city completely overcame him.
Joachim Andersen (CB) – 4/10 – It looked like he was towing a caravan for City’s first and awarded the penalty (although it was soft) for the second. Playing for City will never be easy, but the Dane made his own afternoon twice as difficult.
Tosin Adarabioyo (CB) – 7/10 – He stood firm on his task all afternoon and produced a series of timely blocks to prevent City from fleeing with him. An individual performance that you can be satisfied with when you return to your former employers.
Bobby Decordova-Reid (RWB) – 5/10 – He was asked to support the attack and help the defense, which ultimately turned out to be an excessive workload. I can’t complain about his effort, but he beat Fulham on the right.
Harrison Reed (CM) – 5/10 – Given the unenviable job of keeping de Bruyne quiet, which he obviously didn’t do. He often found himself outnumbered in midfield and really struggled to influence the game.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (CM) – 6/10 – The selection of Fulham midfielders (but not by much). Full of running, but essentially chasing shadows. At least he put some pressure on a City midfield who looked comfortable all afternoon.
Antonee Robinson (LWB) – 6/10 – He had very few chances to get into the City half, but when he did, he looked threatening. He seemed much more comfortable in the wing role than Decordova-Reid on the opposite flank.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (RW) – 4/10 – An absolutely anonymous screen. Of course, the serve was poor, but the loaned Chelsea player did little to prevail in the contest.
Ivan Cavaleiro (ST) – 5/10 – He played in the center of the Fulham front row and it was clear he didn’t really know how to play the role. He found himself drifting back to his natural wide stance and simply running aimlessly.
Ademola Lookman (LW) – 5/10 – Can’t be faulted for lack of effort, but he was completely isolated every time he received the ball and couldn’t find his way past a solid City defense.
Mario Lemina (CM) – 6/10
Aboubakar Kamara (ST) – 5/10
Tom Cairney (CM) – 6/10