Fulham 0 Man City 4: Pep’s side go top to pile pressure on Arsenal in title race as Gvardiol continues scoring run

MANCHESTER CITY kicked Arsenal’s hopes for a shock slip-up into the long grass.

City boss Pep Guardiola started a turf war before the game by claiming he was worried the Craven Cottage surface would be too dry and not cut short enough.

Josko Gvardiol scored again as Man City took top spot in the Premier League

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Josko Gvardiol scored again as Man City took top spot in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
The Croatian's brace took his tally to five goals in seven games

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The Croatian’s brace took his tally to five goals in seven gamesCredit: AP
Phil Foden added his name to the scoresheet in the second half

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Phil Foden added his name to the scoresheet in the second halfCredit: EPA
Julian Alvarez added the fourth from the penalty spot in the final seconds

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Julian Alvarez added the fourth from the penalty spot in the final secondsCredit: Reuters

But his side despatched a Fulham side featuring three ex-Gunners with ease in a sunshine stroll by the Thames.

Noel Gallagher was in the away end to see his team tick off another win on the way to the title with the same kind of predictability he has shown in every album since What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

Left back Josko Gvardiol scored his fourth goal in seven games to give them an early lead and Footballer of the Year Phil Foden poached a second just before the hour.

Gvardiol grabbed the third, too, as his remarkable scoring streak continued. And in stoppage time Issa Diop was shown a second yellow card for fouling Julian Alvarez in the box and the Argentinian World Cup winner picked himself up to make it four.

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After some gentle sparring, Gvardiol gave City the lead from their first meaningful attack.

The Croat played a simple one-two with Kevin De Bruyne, wrong-footed Issa Diop with a deft first touch, and then stroked the ball into the net with the greatest of ease.

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno made comfortable saves from Bernardo Silva and Foden, while Diop made a decent block on Silva.

But City were not showing any great urgency to get a second goal, probably because they did not think they would need one.

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Fulham had started well but could not lay a glove on the visitors. The most discomfort they caused was when captain Bobby De Cordova-Reid caught Foden with an arm off the ball.

Marco Silva signalled his displeasure with a double half-time change, sending on Tom Cairney for De Cordova-Reid and Adama Traore for Willian.

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Within a few minutes of the break, Leno made his best save so far, again from Silva.

But City were looking a little sloppy, and goalkeeper Ederson was finally called into action when Rodri got the last touch on a Traore cross.

Leno saved from De Bruyne, but then Foden pounced on a loose ball after Joao Palhinha had taken Silva out on the edge of the box.

Guardiola held his head in his hands when Erling Haaland missed a good chance but there was no real jeopardy.

And then Gvardiol snuck in at the back post to turn in Silva’s cross.

There was time for Leno to make another stop, this time from Jeremy Doku, as Guardiola rested key men for Tuesday’s trip to Tottenham, before Alvarez earned and scored the penalty.

Arsenal will have to hope their hated rivals do more to worry City’s champions-in-waiting than Fulham could.

Fulham's Issa Diop, pictured challenging Julian Alvarez, received a red card in stoppage time

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Fulham’s Issa Diop, pictured challenging Julian Alvarez, received a red card in stoppage timeCredit: AP

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