Manchester City defeated Fulham at the Etihad Stadium in a game marred by controversy that followed the Champions’ second goal late in the first-half.
While the game started in relatively sloppy fashion, with neither side registering a single shot at goal by the 25 minute mark, the contest soon sparked into life with onlookers treated to three goals across the opening 45 minutes.
However, it was Manchester City who broke the deadlock first, striking right on the stroke of the half-hour mark with Argentine international Julian Alvarez tapping home from close range thanks to a ball from Erling Haaland onto a plate.
Manchester City’s lead would last just two minutes however, with Tim Ream tapping home at the back post following a Fulham corner that the hosts failed to defend despite the ball finding it’s way through a melee of players inside the penalty area.
The first-half would have one more goal in it, with City regaining the lead from a direct corner thanks to a Nathan Ake header. However, it was a goal marred by controversy after VAR adjudged Manuel Akanji not to have interfered with play, despite being stood in an offside position and in-front of a diving Bernd Leno.
Fulham players and coaching staff caught a replay of the incident on the touchline and refused to restart play from the centre spot at first, before the half-time whistle was blown moments after a restart finally came.
The second-half was all about one man, and one man only, and a name that everyone in the Premier League is more than familiar of now – Erling Braut Haaland.
The Norwegian striker took centre stage in securing all three points for Manchester City and ensuring that their 100 per cent winning run in the competition so far this season was maintained through a hat-trick of his own.
After converting an excellent through ball from Julian Alvarez breaking the Fulham defence, Haaland was then on hand to make amends for his penalty miss at Bramall Lane last weekend with a goal from the spot this time around.
Substitutes were of the essence with the result beyond any doubt, and Sergio Gomez – operating at left-wing for the closing moments of the match – made his impact on the game, pulling back a cross to find Haaland, leaving the Norwegian to smash home.
Compliments must be paid to Jeremy Doku who impressed on his debut, whilst Oscar Bobb also made his senior competitive Manchester City debut too, as he appeared for the closing moments from the substitutes bench.
Following an emphatic afternoon’s work at the Etihad Stadium in a 5-1 win, with a little bit of controversy sprinkled in, here is how we rated the Manchester City players who featured in the north-west sunshine!
Nothing he could do about Fulham’s equaliser with Tim Ream tapping home at the far-post, but did make an excellent save to deny Raul Jimenez.
Kyle Walker: 7
As always, a handy component in Manchester City’s attacking threat. More composed and experienced in defensive areas this week, which is always useful.
Ruben Dias: 7.5
Leading in all areas of the pitch, offering commanding instructions to his teammates with confidence, and playing a crucial role in calming the side down after conceding.
Manuel Akanji: 7
Taking on the highly-complex role mastered by John Stones, and Rico Lewis, but is still some way off being a trusted option in the position. Nevertheless, a strong outing.
Nathan Ake: 7.5
A strong performance as always from left-back, and offered a decisive goal towards the end of the first-half finding room inside the Fulham penalty area and placing his header expertly into the bottom corner.
Slightly below the level we’re used to from the Spaniard, but as he sets such ridiculously high standards, it would be near impossible to maintain that. A strong outing, but improvements to be had in control for example.
Mateo Kovacic: 8
It’s quite staggering just how good the Croatian international is looking in this Manchester City side, and is looking better and better with each passing week. If it wasn’t for Erling Haaland’s super-human abilities to score a second-half hat-trick in a tight contest, then this would have been a Man of the Match-worthy performance from the summer signing.
Phil Foden: 7
Once again showcased just how naturally talent he is. Whether it was attacking from the right or left, or operating more centrally, Fulham’s players could hardly get near Phil Foden. Another strong performance in a season that could be one to remember for our star academy graduate.
Julian Alvarez: 8
Much better link-up play with the players around him than what we have perhaps become used to, offering great service to Erling Haaland and converting from close-range after the Norwegian put it on a plate for him for City’s opener. Tim Ream’s slight touch on his through ball for Haaland’s first will perhaps unfairly snatch away a deserved assist such was the strength of his performance.
Erling Haaland: 9.5, Man of the Match
Hat-trick. Assist. Is there anything more to say? He certainly made amends for his penalty miss at Bramall Lane last weekend, too. Erling Braut Haaland. Inevitable.
Jeremy Doku: 7
Offered something we have perhaps lacked – which is strange to say given the successes of last season. The Belgian was lively, exciting in attack, and not afraid to take on his man. A very promising start from the former Rennes man.
Bernardo Silva: 6.5
Sergio Gomez: 7
Kalvin Phillips: 6.5
Oscar Bobb: No time to mark
Rico Lewis: No time to mark
Match Report and Player Ratings: Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester City (Premier League)
Pep Guardiola reveals what Manchester City could to force an early retirement
Confirmed Line-Ups: Aston Villa vs Manchester City (Premier League)
The BIG World-Cup Preview!
Manchester City undergo scouting mission on Juventus midfielder
Exclusive: Manchester City Plan Major Etihad Stadium Stand Redevelopment
News3 days ago
Decision made on referee Simon Hooper following Manchester City blunder ahead of Liverpool appointment
News3 days ago
Manchester City star to undergo tests on fresh injury in ‘coming hours and days’
Transfers3 days ago
Manchester City prepare €60 million investment in midfield and defensive signings for January
Features2 days ago
Manchester City in big games this season: Bad luck or a cause for concern?