Welp, that was something.
But in fairness, this was what was to be expected when a new Premier League side goes up against a historically good Manchester City. Slavisa Jokanovic stayed true to his word by playing an attack-first system against the Citizens and the first ninety seconds looked like it was going to plan.
But all it took was a Jean-Michael Seri turnover to smash all that great work and preparations into pieces. After receiving a pass from Marcus Bettinelli, Fulham’s best player made a poor decision to attempt a one touch pass that went straight to Fernandinho. From there, the Brazilian started a 3v1 the other way and picked a perfect pass to Leroy Sane and made it 1-0.
After that, Manchester City’s midfield was basically flawless. Both Bernardo and David Silva had all day to do whatever they want with the ball with the Portuguese International having a tekkers clinic whenever he felt like it. Surely enough, it was Bernardo that went ahead and created Manchester City’s second goal. After receiving a pass into the penalty area by Raheem Sterling, Bernando shoved away Stefan Johansen away to give him space to pick a pass across the six-yard box that ended in the foot of David to make it 2-0.
From there, City were cruising the rest of the way. By the end of the first half, they had 14 total shots, with seven of them going on target and seven corner attempts. For good measure, Raheem Sterling received a beautiful cross from Sergio Aguero to make it 3-0. The goal was so certain from such a close range effort that Understat listed it as a 0.95 expected goal effort. But that didn’t happen without Ryan Sessegnon losing the ball in an attempt to cross the ball into the penalty area. From there, loads of space was given on Sessegnon’s defensive area for Aguero to run into and the death nail was set from there.
Understat’s 4.92-0.34 report looks about right in comparison to the 3-0 result that was on display. And sure, this result was going to be inevitable regardless of what Jokanovic was going to do. But there were plenty of selections that made people’s head scratch. First, why is Sessegnon back at fullback after vowing to not pick him over this past summer? Did Joe Bryan do something to offend Jokanovic? Secondly, are we at a point where we have no choice but to play Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa instead of either Johansen, who was downright non-existent today, or Kevin McDonald, who just looks like he is getting older by the league game. You knew how bad of a day in the office Jokanovic and Co. had when Fabian Delph an Fernandinho looked a full decade younger as a result. Along with that, Seri just looked so upset to get benched in the 55th minute when he was essentially taken out of the game.
Fulham will return in better spirits, but upcoming fixtures with Watford, Everton and Arsenal will truly challenge the psyche of this football club and could be a major factor for how the rest of the season can play out.