Manchester City 5 Fulham 0 match report: Yaya Touré treble means Fulham trouble

Fernandinho and Martin Demichelis complete the scoring to ensure City remain on Chelsea's tail

Etihad Stadium

This was hardly Manchester City at full throttle but it was still enough to win 5-0. They made another of those sluggish starts but that was soon forgotten as Yaya Touré’s first hat-trick in English football put them on their way to their biggest Premier League victory since November, ensuring the perfect start to a big week that brings a Manchester derby on Tuesday and a trip to the Emirates on Saturday.

City are now above Arsenal in third place and will head to Old Trafford knowing victory will lift them second – within three points of Chelsea with two games still in hand. Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, may have over-egged the pudding slightly when describing it as a “complete performance” but he was justifiably delighted to see the goals flowing again at the Etihad Stadium, where the hosts had scored just five in their previous five games. “It is important, because maybe in the last month we were not scoring so many, even if we were creating chances,” he said.

In truth, they had a helping hand from Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta, who played what is known in these parts as the Martin Demichelis role, conceding the two penalties that Touré converted to put City in control and earning a sending-off in the process. With 36 minutes still to play, it was then a question of how many City would score against the bottom club whose manager Felix Magath accused his players of throwing in the towel. “After the second penalty, we didn’t play any more,” said the German. “We have to fight for 90 minutes, not for 60.”

 

City took full advantage with Fernandinho and Demichelis completing the rout after Touré had delivered his hat-trick strike. It was some goal too.  Collecting a free-kick from Samir Nasri, he sent the ball curling into the top corner with a seemingly effortless swish of his right boot.

On a day Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were both missing, it was another reminder of the importance of Touré, who now has 20 goals for the season. Pellegrini said: “At the beginning of the season he received some criticism that he was not defending well. For me it is easy to tell Yaya to stay back and defend and not allow him to play more freely, [but] he is an important player playing the way he likes to play and scoring 20 goals for a  midfielder is not easy.”

The only small blessing for the visitors was that the four sides directly above them all lost too, although Magath bemoaned the penalty decision which gave City their half-time advantage. “Not a penalty,” was his verdict on an incident where Amorebieta stuck out a boot and caught Alvaro Negredo on the backside.

TV replays suggested the contact was minimal but the referee, Jonathan Moss, awarded the penalty and Toure sent David Stockdale the wrong way. Touré repeated the trick nine minutes after the break after Amorebieta fouled David Silva.

After Touré’s third, Fernandinho added the fourth by sidestepping William Kqist and lashing a shot inside the near post. Demichelis then tapped in the fifth.

Now for Old Trafford. Pellegrini added: “Winning is always good preparation and winning today the way we did, scoring five goals and not conceding, is always important but the derby is a special match.”

Line-ups:

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Demichelis,  Lescott, Kolarov; Touré (Rodwell, 77), Fernandinho; Milner, Silva (Navas, 68), Nasri (Jovetic, 82); Negredo.

Fulham (4-3-3): Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise; Riether, Kvist, Sidwell; Kacaniklic (Roberts, 55), Woodrow (Kasami, 84), Richardson (Holtby, 55).

Referee: Jonathan Moss.

Man of the match: Touré (Manchester City)

Match rating: 6/10

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