Manuel Pellegrini's side have been caught out more than once on the road, especially when injured Sergio Aguero has not been present. But despite Rene Meulensteen breathing new life into the relegation-threatened Londoners, they were picked off by two set-piece goals in the first half.
Yaya Toure scored a now-trademark stunner of a free-kick on 23 minutes before Vincent Kompany stabbed home the loose-ball from another set-play just before the interval, but the City skipper will be remembered more for his spectacular own-goal on 69 minutes after Kieran Richardson had pulled one back early in the second period.
Two substitutes would rescue the title contenders against a tiring home side, however, with Jesus Navas finishing David Silva's through pass with style five minutes before James Milner provided a tidy finish to Alvado Negredo's fantastic assist.
PRE-MATCH - City's decision to start with Joe Hart in goal will please Roy Hodgson but does not really hint as to whether he is permanently back in the frame. A name notable by its absence is that of Dimitar Berbatov, who has been linked with a move away from Fulham and is not even in the squad.
13’ - Silva hits the bar! Dzeko holds off two defenders to square for the Spaniard who almost finds a luxury finish from 10 out.
23’ - GOAL! Superb placement from Yaya Toure leaves Stekelenburg positively stranded - great free-kick from inside the ‘D’ and there's our opener. 0-1!
43’ - GOAL! City double their lead! Demichelis is completely unmarked at the far post and though Stekelenburg gets a touch on it, Kompany is there to stab home the loose ball. 0-2!
50’ - GOAL FULHAM! Great counter attack after mob-dispossessing Silva again. Quick thinking by Sidwell to set Taarabt free on the left and his square ball to an unmarked Richardson cannot be missed. 1-2!
56’ - Big chance for the hosts! Dejagah with a peach of a cross from the right which is headed for an unmarked Taarabt at the far post only for Sidwell to swoop in a head it miserably wide.
69’ - GOAL! 2-2 and it's one of the greatest own goals you'll ever see! Kompany is on both sides of the scoresheet as he spectacularly slices a low cross from the right over Hart, off the post and in from a near-impossible angle. 2-2!
77’ - GOAL CITY! It is indeed Navas to the rescue as he outruns Amorebieta and puts the ball between Stekelenburg and near post. City lead again. 2-3!
83’ - GOAL! Milner finishes the job with a neat finish from a fantastic Negredo cross from the right. Hughes should have cut that out, mind. The attacking switch is immediately moot as City lead by two again at 2-4.
Fulham lost their 20th PL match of 2013, setting a new club record for most PL losses in a calendar year. They lost 19 PL matches in 2002 and 2004.
James Milner scored the 50th goal of his club career, in all competitions.
Two of Vincent Kompany’s three PL own goals have now come against Fulham (both at Craven Cottage) – he also scored at the wrong end in the 2-2 away draw at Fulham in September 2011.
Kieran Richardson scored his first PL goal since October 2012 & his first home goal for Fulham. It was his first PL home goal since scoring for Sunderland in their 4-2 home defeat v Chelsea in February 2011.
Rene Meulensteen’s job is only half-done: The final score does not convey how fearless, confident and capable Fulham looked for the most part in a tough fixture for them. They certainly look a better team than the side trudging through Martin Jol’s miserable last games in charge. But that rough early form means they are very much fighting for survival, and improved performances will not be enough to pull them out of the bottom three. They need points, and fast – before they really fall adrift.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David Silva, Manchester City - It often took more than one defender at a time to keep the Spaniard out of the Fulham box, but he and compatriot Negredo would not be denied a big influence on the outcome. Kept at it even when Fulham took over the game and pegged City back.
Manchester City: Hart 7, Clichy 5, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Kolarov 6, Nasri 5, Fernandinho 6, Yaya Toure 7, Silva 8, Dzeko 6, Negredo 8; Subs: Milner 7, Navas 7, Garcia n/a /// Fulham: Stekelenburg 5, Riether 7, Senderos 4, Hughes 5, Riise 7, Dejagah 6, Karagounis 7, Parker 7, Sidwell 8, Richardson 7, Taarabt 7. Subs: Kasami 6, Amorebieta 6, Bent n/a
THE MATCH IN A TWEET