If there was ever a “Match of the Day” game, this was it. Highlights galore in 90 minutes of the sublime, the ridiculous and the downright calamitous.
Fulham away is never a fixture that induces great excitement, just one of those routine games you hope to pick up 3 points in. This was anything but routine.
The match was something of a bore for the first 20 minutes or so, with few chances and little imagination from either team. That changed when Silva was brought down and Yaya scored yet another free kick golazo, his 11th goal in all competitions to make this his best goal scoring season ever (with more than half of it to go!).
20 minutes later City made it two, an excellent free kick from Silva finding the head of Demichelis (who is proving very valuable both in defence and up front). Stekelenburg saved Demichelis’ header, but Kompany was on hand to score his first goal of the season.
0-2 at half-time flattered us a little as it had been a fairly even game and Taarabt was proving a menace. Still, City looked a safe bet to ease their way to victory in the second half. Oh, but we should know better by now in these so-called “easy” away games.
Clichy, filling in for the injured Zabaleta and Richards at right-back, had a nightmare and was caught out several times. One of them turned out to be costly as he slipped and Taarabt had a free run to the box, squaring it to Kieran Richardson to slot past the recalled Joe Hart.
City like to toy with our nerves and when Kompany sliced a clearance into his own goal, you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This was up there with Jamie Pollock’s legendary own goal. And it had Navas trying to karate kick the post for extra Benny Hill effect.
From 0-2 to 2-2, another away day disaster was on the cards. Typical City?
Fulham looked hungry for the third, but City managed to hold it together and some good work led to substitute Navas scoring his 4th goal of the season after good work from Negredo and Silva. An absolutely crucial goal.
Our nerves were only frayed for 5 more minutes before another sub, the in-form James Milner, latched on to one of the best passes you’ll ever see from Negredo, to make it 2-4. Game over and thank heavens for that.
The full-time whistle was mercifully blown and what was both a hugely entertaining and nerve-shredding game came to an end.
It’s now 8 wins and 1 draw for City in all competitions since that away loss to Sunderland, but again this was no routine win. Pellegrini will have to reassess the right-back position with Luispool coming to the Etihad, unless, that is, Zabaleta can return in time for the game.
Credit to the lads for staying strong at 2-2 and fighting hard for the win. A win that could prove crucial come the end of the season.
Fulham: Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos (Amorebieta 37), Hughes, Riise, Karagounis (Bent 82), Parker, Sidwell, Richardson, Dejagah (Kasami), Taarabt
Subs not used: Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Stockdale, Duff
Goals: Richardson 50, Kompany (OG) 69
Manchester City: Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Nasri (Milner 75), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Silva (Garcia 84), Dzeko (Navas 58), Negredo
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Boyata, Rodwell, Guidetti
Goals: Yaya 23, Kompany 43, Navas 78, Milner 83
Attendance: 25,509 (sold out)
TKA Man of the Match: David Silva
Stats courtesy of WhoScored: