Manchester City continued their 100% start to the new Premier League (PL) season with a convincing 5-1 victory over Fulham, as Pep Guardiola’s side made it a club-record 18 home wins in a row, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
The Cottagers came into the contest without star player João Palhinha, who dramatically missed out on a move to Bayern Munich at the eleventh hour when the Fulham hierarchy pulled the plug. The gaping hole in the visitors’ midfield faced a stern test against the PL champions, with City registering a remarkable 61 shots on goal in the opening three fixtures of the season.
That being said, it wasn’t until the 31st minute when City profited from their first effort as Erling Haaland’s scuffed effort fell into the path of Julián Álvarez, who fired the Cityzens ahead for a third consecutive home match. That goal sparked the match into life, and Fulham’s response was immediate, with Tim Ream tapping home on the goal line after Ederson uncharacteristically fumbled a Raúl Jiménez header.
The game looked to be heading into half time level, before Nathan Aké converted a Phil Foden corner with a powerful close-range header. Bernd Leno ran to referee Michael Oliver, believing Manuel Akanji was offside blocking his line of sight, but to his and Marco Silva’s disgust, VAR did not concur.
Last season’s 36-goal striker Erling Haaland had gone four home games without a goal prior to the match, however, fresh from being crowned UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in midweek, the Norwegian talisman finally found the net. Álvarez turned the provider this time, turning the ball around the corner for his team-mate to slip the ball beyond Leno.
Armed with a comfortable three-goal advantage, there was still time for Haaland to net a late hat-trick, as he slammed home from the spot following a foul on Álvarez, before finishing superbly in stoppage time to complete his treble. That compounded Fulham’s misery who suffered a ninth consecutive defeat against City.