SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK: Manchester City returned with a swagger from the international break on Saturday, resuming their quest for four trophies with another dominant 2-0 win at Fulham that thrust them back to the top of the Premier League.
On the afternoon that Huddersfield Town were relegated and Manchester United celebrated the full-time managerial appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-1 win over Watford, City again demonstrated why they remain the league’s benchmark.
Bernardo Silva scored for the third game in a row and Sergio Aguero extended his league-leading tally to 19 in a dazzling early spell, allowing the champions to ease to a seventh straight league victory while never having to hit the heights.
It restored City’s advantage at the top, one point ahead of Liverpool on 77 points with both sides having played 31 games, though Juergen Klopp’s men could return to the summit with a win over third-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Still, City, who have won the League Cup and are in the FA Cup semi-finals and Champions League quarter-finals, moved closer to an unprecedented, if still unlikely, ‘quadruple’ with 14 matches left.
Without seemingly having broken stride, their cosmopolitan crew reconvened after the international break and looked as if they had never been apart as soon as Bernardo Silva arrowed in a left-footed strike within five minutes.
For manager Pep Guardiola, the lunchtime stroll at Craven Cottage, featuring the return of key players like Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho after injury, felt like the most perfect resumption with the pressure immediately restored on Liverpool.