LONDON: Manchester City climbed into the Premier League’s top four on Saturday, easing past Fulham 2-0.
Pep Guardiola’s team have had a patchy start to the season but are now just three points behind leaders Tottenham after a dominant display at the Etihad.
Earlier, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season to rescue a point for Everton in a 1-1 draw against struggling Burnley.
City, who had won just four of their opening nine matches, are showing ominous signs they are returning to their best form after building on their 5-0 mauling of Burnley last week.
They made a superb start at the Etihad, with Raheem Sterling putting them ahead inside five minutes to end his recent goal drought.
The England forward, who had already had one shot saved by Alphonse Areola, raced through on goal from a measured Kevin De Bruyne pass and calmly side-footed into the far corner.
De Bruyne, in Guardiola’s 700th game as a manager, doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Sterling was brought down by Joachim Andersen.
The Belgian rattled the bar early in the second half as City continued to dominate possession but they could not add to their lead.
The result lifts City to fourth in the table on 18 points, ahead of Leicester on goal difference, while Fulham remain fourth from bottom.
Earlier, Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton trailed at Turf Moor after a fine strike by midfielder Robbie Brady before England forward Calvert-Lewin leveled on the stroke of half time.
But neither side could find a winner in a contest in which goalkeepers Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope — rivals for the England number one shirt — caught the eye.
“We are not satisfied with the result but the performance was quite good,” Ancelotti told the BBC. “The start was terrible and Burnley are able to defend. We created some good chances.”
“(England manager) Gareth Southgate has to be pleased, both goalkeepers did really well,” he added.
Premier League chiefs on Saturday issued advice to supporters on coronavirus safety measures, including a warning for fans not to get carried away when their team scores a goal.
“Fans can celebrate but should remain socially distanced from people outside their social bubble,” said the advice.
“Hugging of other fans and high-fives should be avoided and fans are asked to be respectful to those around them, including avoiding excessive shouting or singing.”
London and Liverpool are among the areas to have been placed into the Tier-2 category based on COVID-19 rates, meaning up to 2,000 fans will be able to attend matches.
But clubs based in Tier-3 areas, such as Manchester and Birmingham, are still not allowed to open their gates.