Manchester City’s squad for Fulham was bolstered by the return of a prolific attacker Riyad Mahrez
The club’s decision not to call up the club’s new £14 million striker, Julian Alvarez, from River Plate may look perplexing considering that he appears to suit the player profile that the Blues need.
Pep Guardiola’s team has always defied tradition, and Riyad Mahrez has reclaimed his position as the team’s top scorer.
Despite being absent from the African Cup of Nations, Mahrez surged up the assist statistics by setting up Ilkay Gundogan for the opening before adding two more in the second half to move to 15 goals in all competitions, six more than any teammate.
For the first goal, City’s defence was non-existent. Joao Cancelo was caught off guard as Harry Wilson ran away from him, and John Stones and Kyle Walker were nowhere near Fabio Carvalho, who had the freedom of the six-yard box to shoot past Zack Steffen.
With the exception of a tense moment just after the score when Wilson had acres of space away from Cancelo but couldn’t reach the ball, and a long-range wobbler in the second half that Zack Steffen couldn’t hold, City closed up.
Mahrez was on hand to quash the nerves and ensure there wasn’t a confidence-wrecking upset akin to the one Manchester United suffered on Friday night.
This is something they’ve become better at in recent years: regaining composure after surrendering a goal rather than wilting and allowing another one through.
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