Manchester City eased back to the top of the Premier League as first-half goals from Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero earned them a comfortable 2-0 win at relegation-bound Fulham.
Silva and Aguero cashed in on Fulham mistakes to put Pep Guardiola’s side in control and put them back at the summit ahead of Liverpool’s game against Tottenham on Sunday.
City had the first shot after only three minutes, Oleksandr Zinchenko blasting an effort from the edge of the box that crashed off a Fulham defender.
A minute later, Fulham created their own problems when keeper Sergio Rico’s poor clearance allowed City to launch an attack that ended with Aguero’s shot being blocked.
But they failed to learn the lesson and, after five minutes, Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s dreadful pass outside his own area allowed Bernardo Silva to step in and fire a low shot into the corner.
Rico tipped over a Kevin De Bruyne strike and Raheem Sterling curled one wide as City, dominant in the London sunshine, threatened to go two clear before 10 minutes had been played.
Ilkay Gundogan’s shot was saved and both Sterling and Bernardo Silva had attempts blocked in quick succession with the home side struggling to get out of their own defensive third.
With a quarter of an hour gone, the visitors could have been well clear and had another opening when De Bruyne raced through after a ricochet but scuffed his attempt at Rico.
Fulham mustered a chance to hit back when Tom Cairney was fouled just outside the area, but his free kick was too high for Ryan Babel in the middle.
That ushered in a better spell for the home side before City threatened again as Sterling’s low cross was hacked away by Callum Chambers before Aguero could get to it.
But after 27 minutes Aguero doubled the lead, Fulham again the architects of their own downfall as Joe Bryan’s mis-hit pass near his own area allowed Bernardo Silva to set up the striker for a thumping finish.
Fosu-Mensah’s sliding challenge on Sterling saw the England forward go to ground only for referee Kevin Friend to wave away penalty claims, and Fulham almost pulled a goal back when Chambers freed Ryan Sessegnon for a low effort that Ederson parried.
As half-time approached, Bernardo Silva got down the right and laid the ball to Gundogan, whose fierce effort was narrowly wide, but Bryan almost had the last word when his angled effort bounced wide following a move down the left.
Fulham began the second half with more purpose, putting together its first move of note only for Bryan to balloon his cross into the stand.
De Bruyne then set up Nicolas Otamendi, who thumped his shot high into the afternoon sky, and after 57 minutes City made a change, Gabriel Jesus coming on for Aguero, who appeared to have picked up a knock.
Fulham almost let City in again, failing to clear convincingly and allowing Sterling to get in for a shot that was saved by Rico, and with 65 minutes gone home boss Scott Parker made his first change, replacing Floyd Ayite with Neeskens Kebano.
Fulham’s Cyrus Christie went into the book for a frustrated foul on David Silva as City continued their easy control of the game, and another home change followed as Cairney was replaced by Andre Schurrle.
Fernandinho came on for De Bruyne as the game meandered into its final 15 minutes, Maxime Le Marchand going into the book for Fulham for a foul on David Silva and City almost adding a third when Kyle Walker’s shot hit the post.
Kewvin McDonald came on for Babel for Fulham, with Riyad Mahrez replacing Sterling for City, the home side creating one last half-chance to set up a dramatic finish when Schurrle’s low ball into the area took a couple of dangerous deflections before being held by Ederson.