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Jeremy Doku is already providing what Pep Guardiola demands of a Man City winger with more to offer.

Jeremy Doku is already providing what Pep Guardiola demands of a Man City winger with more to offer.

Jeremy Doku made a good, if unspectacular, debut for Manchester City against Fulham, but he also displayed some skills that Pep Guardiola would have approved of.

After making his Manchester City debut, Jeremy Doku was greeted by interim manager Juanma Lillo with a hand extended in celebration.
Even though Pep Guardiola is known for giving out effusive pats on the back and bear hugs, Lillo’s standard of restraint made this an indication of a job well done.

After an unusually busy summer for City, four new players were included in the lineup against Fulham.
Matheus Nunes, who recently left Wolves, was not a surprise substitution; Josko Gvardiol was.

Mateo Kovacic settled into the Etihad very quickly, adapting in the way you might anticipate of a 29-year-old with Real Madrid, Chelsea, and a World Cup final appearance on his resume.
The £55 million Doku, who is arguably the most dissimilar to Guardiola’s style of play, was left in the spotlight.

The 21-year-old has an X factor about him and is a dangerous dribbler and attacker.
That doesn’t always sit well with Guardiola at the Etihad, at least not if it’s done at what he feels is the wrong time.

But in a performance that propelled City to four straight victories at the start of the Premier League season—a feat last accomplished in Guardiola’s first season—he was reliable if unspectacular.
That counts as a more than adequate start for a winger at City.

The truth is that City started the game off slowly and carelessly.
A year ago, with more than an hour left in the game, Andreas Pereira’s equalizer from the penalty spot and Joao Cancelo’s dismissal brought the Etihad crowd to its feet.

The celebrations following Erling Haaland’s late penalty were animated and jubilant as Guardiola demanded more from his players and the crowd, and they delivered. This time, some of those early misplaced passes were accompanied by groans as City struggled to advance the ball up the field and was guilty of doing so far too frequently.

The switch of Doku and Phil Foden to the wings had given the game some life just before the equalizer, and the goal was the result of patient play at first and then a burst of quality from Kovacic.
Julian Alvarez finished a rare Haaland mishit.

The equalizer was a gift, but City regained the lead before halftime. Nathan Ake was given a free header by careless Fulham defending, though protests against the ruling that Manuel Akanji, who was offside, wasn’t interfering with the game will be on the minds of Fulham players this week.
It appeared to be a poor decision.

For the third, Alvarez and Haaland once more worked together.
The former’s pass hit Tim Ream and fell so enticingly for Haaland that it ought to have been wrapped as a gift. He rarely blows opportunities like that.
Last week, he did miss a penalty, but this time, he stepped up when Alvarez was brought down with the goal in reach, and in stoppage time, he added a third to his hat trick.

Alvarez and Haaland were starting to steal the show, but Doku will be inspired by his debut.
He had a few lively moments, especially early in the first half when he won a corner, but a wide player who is typically a dynamic, daring dribbler proved he has what it takes to do what Guardiola wants of a winger as well.

Lillo had communicated the instructions, despite the fact that the Catalan wasn’t at the Etihad and Doku still hasn’t trained with the City manager as he recovers from back surgery in Barcelona.
He started the game on the right, and when he was given the ball in front of the technical areas early on, he turned back rather than trying to take on his man and risking a turnover.
It would have been ideal for Guardiola.

Perhaps at Rennes, he would have used his speed and skill to try and find some of that space down the flank, but at City, Guardiola prefers that his wingers maintain possession, particularly early on and in areas of the field where they are unlikely to harm the opposition.
Keep the flashy stuff for the final third and a worn-out, unprepared defense.

After 20 minutes, Doku was praised for his defensive vigilance and for tracking Antonee Robinson all the way back to the byline.
Although this was a strong beginning, Foden was more motivated after switching wings than the new boy was.

There will undoubtedly be more from the 21-year-old.
He is a thrill-seeking winger, and at the Eithad, that won’t be drilled out of him. But under Guardiola, this is a system-first organization, and on his first day, he unquestionably appeared prepared to fit into that.

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