Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva flash the style as City rout Fulham
Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic could be seen staring at the heavens after 20 minutes and shrugging towards his bench on 45, as if asking the rhetorical question, "what more can any of us do?" It was a good question, which is yet to receive an answer. By the end all he could do was stare at his shoe laces. The game was a mismatch beyond the second minute, when City took the lead, and remained out of Fulham's reach throughout.
There may have been some sloppy passing as it became clear that City was going to walk to this victory, but the hunger for the ball remains, with Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho leading a tigerish recovery programme in midfield.
Two goals in the opening minutes of each half ensured Fulham were never able to mount a proper challenge. An exercise in passing occasionally broke down as sloppiness took its toll.
Manager Rating out of 10
9 -- Pep Guardiola's treatment of Leroy Sane -- with words of positivity before kick-off -- would appear to have hit the spot, with a reaction from the German winger just 96 seconds after the start. Two more example of the coach's liking for tactical dabbling saw Kyle Walker finish at left-back and Fernandinho at right-back.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 7 -- Needed to react three times in 90 minutes, dropping to his right to fist away a snapshot from Andre Schurrle, tipping another long shot from the same player over the bar before denying Aleksandar Mitrovic late on.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- Eager to hit top speed down the wing, but a little sloppy in possession on occasion. Finished on the left side after Fabian Delph's removal.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- First start of the season and we didn't have to wait long to see his first raking tackle of the game, as he snatched the ball from Luciano Vietto's possession.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 -- Sure footed and in casual control at the back, the Frenchman has the look of a future great in defence for City.
DF Fabian Delph, 8 -- Early test with Fulham attacking swiftly down his side, but came into the game strongly and showcased a couple of his trademark slalom runs in support of the attack.
MF Fernandinho, 8 -- Wonderful start, nicking possession to set up Leroy Sane's early strike. Always available to put his foot in and regain control, but banished to right-back for the last 20 minutes.
MF Bernardo Silva, 9 -- Mesmeric skill and tenacity combined to hold onto possession, in setting up David Silva for City's second. Much more than just a pretty passer, however, with indefatigable spirit and non-stop covering.
MF David Silva, 8 -- Made the most of Sane's return with some pretty triangles down the left wing. Quick control to edge the ball under the bar for the second goal.
FW Raheem Sterling, 9 -- Had chances that went begging but kept at his game and looked sharp. Eventually rewarded for his endeavour with a tap-in, but he showed so much more, specifically his tight turns, support runs and constant chasing.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 -- A pleasure to see how decisively his manager's words of encouragement during the week worked on the German. Some great interchanges with David Silva but he was breathing heavily by the end.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- Selfless 50 minutes in service of the team. Inspired run and cross to set up Sterling's goal.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- On for Sergio Aguero on 52 minutes. Injected pace, but proved profligate with two good chances.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- Came on for Delph on 66 minutes and looked lively.
FW Riyad Mahrez, N/R -- Made a 73rd minute appearance for Sterling. Still finding his feet at the club.