Erling Haaland equalled the record for the most goals in one Premier League season with a third minute penalty, but things weren’t easy for Manchester City as they limped to a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage.
Haaland converted his 50th goal of the season after Julian Alvarez was fouled in the box but what should have been a straightforward afternoon for the Premier League champions became difficult as Carlos Vinicius equalised after a lovely Fulham move. All of a sudden Craven Cottage was alive and the home side had a genuine chance of securing a point.
They certainly weren’t blown away as Arsenal were in midweek at the Etihad and instead fought and battled their way into the game. Haaland was relatively quiet after converting from the spot, his seventh successful penalty of the campaign bringing up his 34th league goal of season.
That total takes him level with the Premier League record and now he is seemingly certain to break it before the season comes to a close. But City were not at their best, and instead of Haaland it was Alavarez who came up trumps with a stunning finish from the edge of the box.
In the second half, you may have expected City to run away with it but instead it was Fulham that kept on pushing. City couldn’t find that third goal and instead the hosts ramped up the pressure on their illustrious opponents. But Pep Guardiola’s team are the masters when it comes to this time of the season, and masters when it comes to seeing out games.
Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden came off the bench and they controlled the tempo of the game as Fulham huffed and puffed late on. In what was a positive performance from the home side, the only serious negative came as Andreas Pereira was stretchered off with a serious looking injury in the second half. The initial issue looked to be a head issue, but his leg was strapped up on the stretcher as he seemed to land awkwardly. That could spell the end of his season and Fulham have relied on him so much this term.
For City though, this was the perfect title winners display away from home. They weren’t at their scintillating best, but they didn’t need to be in the capital. They had just about enough to get past Fulham on a day that saw them struggle in parts. But they won’t care about that. Manchester City have now overhauled Arsenal and taken top spot in the Premier League, with a game in hand and far superior goal difference to boot.
The sky blue ribbons should adorn the Premier League trophy once again this term, as a World Cup winner comes up with a moment of magic to secure them another three points. City are flying. Nobody can stop them.