Manchester City moved back top of the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 victory at relegation-threatened Fulham to put the pressure back on Liverpool ahead of their clash with Tottenham on Sunday. Bernardo Silva opened the scoring inside five minutes with a pinpoint strike from 20 yards before Sergio Aguero added a second in the 27th minute.
Pep Guardiola has often spoken about the dangers of matches immediately after international breaks, particularly away from home. So he will be delighted with the way City have kicked off the final two months -- showing their hunger from the first kick of the game. The fact that four of the starting lineup had a free international break will have helped preparations.
Sergio Aguero was replaced early in the second half after suggesting he may have concerns over a muscle strain. Losing the striker for any length of time would be a serious blow to City's quadruple hopes and fans will be praying it was merely a precautionary switch.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Guardiola had virtually a full squad to choose from and opted to give Fernandinho, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy further time to recover from their injuries. With so many crucial matches coming up, the City boss is going to need his full squad and the decision to rest players in one of their easier games of the run-in, proved a good decision.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Ederson, 7 -- Punched away a couple of dangerous crosses emphatically and was alert to any long balls behind the defence.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- Made some threatening runs going forward, slamming a shot against the post, and matched the pace of Sessegnon down his flank.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 -- A couple of rash challenges gave away potentially dangerous free-kicks but he was mostly solid.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 -- Had a huge space to defend with most of his team-mates so far forward and coped with the pressure well.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 -- Enjoying the responsibility of being City's first-choice left back. Comfortable defensively and adds quality supporting the attack.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- Revelled in the wide open spaces going forward but was left isolated when Fulham launched rare counter-attacks.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- Looked refreshed and led the press which brought the opening goal, but scuffed a good opportunity to score his first Premier League goal of the year.
MF David Silva, 7 -- Picked up plenty of dangerous positions as he tried to thread passes through the tightly-packed home defence.
FW Bernardo Silva, 9 -- Delightful finish to set the tone inside five minutes and tormented Fulham's left-hand side with his quick feet and intelligent passing.
FW Sergio Aguero, 8 -- Buzzed around the box and when an opportunity finally broke, he was as clinical as ever with a clever finish.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Full of confidence and was a constant threat, even if he couldn't make his usual contribution for a goal.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 5 -- A couple of good runs but never threatened a goal.
MF Fernandinho, N/R -- A short run-out after a hamstring injury.
FW Riyad Mahrez, N/R -- Very late change.