Tuesday, 7 February 2012

City vs Fulham: Match Report

By Tom Smart

An assured and comfortable 3-0 win for the Premier League leaders ensured the blues remained top of the league after a midweek stumble at the hands of Everton.

A snow-filled Manchester evening restricted many fans access to the ground although an atmosphere was formed throughout the Eastlands stands despite the wintry conditions and missing personnel.

The opening two minutes represented City’s attacking intentions and how to go about the challenge that lay in front of them. Ageuro was instrumental, feeding a lovely weighted pass into the path of Dzeko who could only manage a tame effort at goal that was easily collected by Schwarzer. An effort the Serbian striker should have made more of.

Aguero opens the scoring for the Blues
It wasn’t long after where Aguero was able to latch on to a lofted ball played forward by Kolarov. Aguero managed to out-smart and out-manoeuvre Senderos to pass the ball into the oncoming Adam Johnson. Johnson weaved his way into the box before going down through a challenge from Chris Baird, that replays have shown since was certainly a debateable penalty decision. It appeared that Johnson had pushed his right leg out in an attempt to make contact with Baird, thus going down and winning the penalty for his side. Sergio Aguero hammered home his sides’ first goal of the game and his 18th of the campaign.

City continued to look comfortable and in the 25th minute, Aguero worked his way into the Fulham penalty area and laid the ball into the presence of Silva. Silva’s effort however was dragged wide, in what seemed he’d taken the shot on with the wrong foot. Something City fans are not used to seeing from the Spanish playmaker.

The half-hour mark saw the ball played into the feet of Kolarov who delivered a teasing, fast-paced cross into the box from the left-hand side. The ball was glanced onto the far post where an awaiting Johnson aimed the ball back across goal before ricocheting of the legs of Chris Baird and past Mark Schwarzer for City’s 2nd of the evening. Perhaps a lucky goal, but Fulhams’ incapability to defend Kolarov’s cross ultimately punished them.

Two minutes later Johnson’s ball into the box for Silva allowed the Spaniard to dart forward into the box, before being awkwardly brought down by ex-City graduate Dickson Etuhu. Mike Dean didn’t give the penalty albeit the enormous protests from the home crowd despite giving a much softer decision previously for a foul on Adam Johnson.

The 2nd half saw conditions become much worse as snow poured onto the pitch disrupting play and without doubt affecting the ability for players to play their normal game. Fulham started the half much better than they had in the first with a Chris Baird free-kick forcing Hart low to collect the ball from a well-driven free-kick.

Groundsmen invasion! Fans made more noise with
the clearing of the snow in a straight-forward match
The second half was interrupted as weather conditions became worse and groundsmen were called onto the pitch to etch out the key markings on the field of play, allowing the game to resume.

The 72nd minute saw City pierce Fulham’s defence once more as ball played along the left wing found Aguero. The talisman jinked his way into the box taking on two Fulham defenders in the form of Senderos and Hangeland, before putting the ball on a plate for Edin Dzeko to slide the ball home for City’s third. Another superb run and delivery by Man of the Match Aguero, opening up the Fulham defence and allowing Edin Dzeko to claim his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Minutes later Dempsey was able to engineer an effort at goal that deflected wide before a low corner by Ruiz spurned off Dzeko and hit the post, a major let off for the home side, hoping to retain a clean sheet.

Regardless of being 3-0 down, Fulham continued to press with a fantastic through ball from Danny Murphy making its way through the City defence and past Micah Richards. Riise controlled the ball and drove a low shot that Hart parried away and away from danger. However it was City’s ability and resurgence through the awful weather that meant the blue half of Manchester, reinforced their position at the top of the league.

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