It took just less than four minutes for Manchester City to record their first shot. It took less than five minutes to get the first goal. By 15 minutes, City already took 10 shots. Finally, City had an 18-3 shot advantage in the first half and a 24-5 shot advantage all contest. Oh, and thanks to a 80th minute Kyle Walker shot that hit the post, every City player was able record a shot today. That’s all you needed to know about a contest that was so one sided, you might as well never had the two teams show up in the first place.
Even if City were putting out Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ilkay Gundogan, and a not so healthy Kevin De Bruyne, Scott Parker preferred to rest Aleksander Mitrovic, Tim Ream, and Jean Michael Seri who were traveling far and wide on international duty. Still, Parker decided it was best to implement that infamous three-at-the-back system that Claudio Ranieri’s reputation died on and it delivered the results we expected.
It only took a poor pass by Timothy Fosu-Mensah to release De Bruyne and then Sergio Aguero. From there Bernardo Silva received the ball, cut towards just outside the penalty area from dead center and found the bottom right hand corner to make it 1-0. Fulham just constantly looked lost and had no idea how to play from the back. Fulham’s midfield time and again got outmanned and with no one sitting in front of the back three, City’s midfield trampled over it time and again with De Bruyne free to do whatever he wanted. And of course, the front three of Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and Bernardo Silva just turned all of Fulham’s center backs into the mid-table Championship level they are.
The Craven Cottage support essentially mocked the team after 14 minutes of sheer embarrassment by shouting “olé!” for every completed Fulham pass. And by the 26th minute, another turnover happened thanks to Joe Bryan and it was up to Aguero to loft it over Sergio Rico to make it 2-0 and a contest that basically turned into a training session from here on out.
As much as its best to mentioning something positive Fulham did, there never was an end product to show for it. Sure, Ryan Sessegnon played the full 90 minutes and didn’t look too awful against Kyle Walker. Bryan almost redeemed himself with a curling shot off target. But besides that, no goal looked like it was ever going to come and that’s why this game was over as soon as a single ball was kicked.
What mattered the most about today was the ability to have both sets of supporters being able to allow to raise their voice. Sadly, complaining about how awful referee Kevin Friend was doesn’t count. For Manchester City, plenty of black and red scarves were found at the Putney End to pay tribute to lifetime President Bernard Halford, who spent 47 years of his life working for the football club. As for Fulham, the “Stop the Greed” banners were visible outside the football ground and you were somewhat able to here the chants in and around the 55th minute of the game. It was either too bad or quite fitting that one of Fulham’s best attacking sequences involving Sessegnon happened at the same time. Lastly, good on the Premier League to launch the “No Room for Racism” campaign in the wake of Sterling and Danny Rose receiving unnecessary abuse while playing for England against Montenegro.
No matter how you cut it, we’ve all known for sometime that Fulham are historically bad. They haven’t lost eight league games in a row since 1962 until today and no other top flight team has conceded two or more goals in 12 consecutive games since Newcastle in 1976/77. It’s that bad. So to have other items distract us is a positive sign. Long may that continue as Fulham look to find their proper footing in English football. Does Watford away answer any bit of that question?