Manchester City are well on course to win a third successive Premier League title after they beat Fulham 2-1 on Sunday.
The reigning champions have jumped above Arsenal back into first place and still retain a game in hand over the Gunners.
City’s weekend got off to a perfect start when they were awarded a penalty after 90 seconds, which Erling Haaland duly converted – his record 34th in the Premier League and 50th in total this season.
However, Fulham fought back and equalised soon after through former Tottenham striker Carlos Vinicius, who set himself up before finding the top corner with a composed half-volley.
Julian Alvarez, who won Man City’s penalty, proved to have the last laugh with a sensational winning goal. The Argentine ran at the Fulham defence before suddenly stopping and holding off the challenge of several bodies, and then dinking Bernd Leno from 25 yards.
Here’s who impressed and who flattered to deceive down at Craven Cottage, courtesy of 90min’s player ratings.
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Julian Alvarez: 9/10
It’s very, very easy to see why Alvarez is a World Cup winner whose equally capable of playing in attacks with a maestro like Lionel Messi and a complete scoring freak like Haaland.
Starting as an attacking midfielder in Guardiola’s weird 3-2-4-1 formation, the 23-year-old often pushed up alongside Haaland and was a thorn in Fulham’s side wherever he found the ball.
He popped up with a vital touch to draw a foul from Tim Ream with a minute on the clock, and his winning strike will be replayed over and over for some time. Sumptuous.
Erling Haaland 8/10
Would it really be a Manchester City game without referencing Erling Haaland in more detail?
Gifted the chance to open his account from 12 yards in the early exchanges, the 22-year-old took his penalty with the quality you’d expect of a player who has now equalled the Premier League goal record for a single season.
Haaland’s powerful running and stretching of the game caused Fulham an endless amount of problems, and it only was a terrific performance in goal from Bernd Leno that prevented City, and the potential cyborg, from scoring more.
Despite the scoreline and Fulham’s relative lack of attacking threat, Manchester City seemed determined to at least open the door to their hosts late on.
The worst offender was Ederson, who did not make a single save and came close to giving away a penalty.
Miscommunication with Ruben Dias saw the two collide on the edge of the box, with Ederson just about doing enough to claw the ball back off Vinicius’ foot and prevent him from slotting into an empty net. So, swings and roundabouts, I guess.
Ruben Dias 5/10
You don’t often get to say that Ruben Dias had a bad afternoon for Manchester City, so savour this sentence while you can. Ruben Dias had a bad afternoon.
Communication was poor, body position was awkward at times and you felt the former FWA Footballer of the Year was generally operating well below his usual level. If Fulham were to have any joy, it was Dias and Kyle Walker’s side that looked easiest to exploit – look at Carlos Vinicius’ equalising goal for evidence of that.