London, September 15: Leroy Sane marked his return to the Manchester City starting line-up with a quickfire goal to ignite a 3-0 victory over Fulham.
Germany winger Sane tapped home after 96 seconds and David Silva netted his 50th Premier League goal midway through the first half.
Raheem Sterling helped himself to a third goal this season as City made a similarly rapid start to the second period – Fulham's cavalier attacking approach leaving their excellent goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli repeatedly exposed.
Pep Guardiola's champions remain in touch with early pacesetters Liverpool and Chelsea, two points off the Premier League summit in third.
Granit Xhaka scored a superb free-kick and Mesut Ozil was also on target as Arsenal won 2-1 at Newcastle United to claim a third successive Premier League victory.
After opening defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal have found their groove under Unai Emery against lesser opposition and they survived a poor first half to see off winless Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Chelsea nudged ahead of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table as Eden Hazard's hat-trick helped secure a come-from-behind 4-1 win over Cardiff City.
The Belgium star needed just six first-half minutes to erase an early deficit and later returned to seal his treble from the spot as the hosts continued their perfect start to the new season.
4 - Eden Hazard is the fourth player to score more than one Premier League hat-trick for Chelsea (also Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink). Iconic. #CHECAR pic.twitter.com/Ad743K4o4F— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2018
At the Etihad, Fernandinho pounced on a dreadful pass from Jean Michael Seri and drove forward, greeting Sane's return by gifting him a simple finish.
Bernardo Silva dazzled with sublime close control before playing in Sterling – a combination of Bettinelli and his crossbar denying the England winger.
Sterling and Bernardo Silva were both involved when David Silva crashed via the underside of the bar in the 21st minute.
Ederson beat away a couple of Andre Schurrle strikes as Fulham retained their attacking intent, but the visitors were indebted to stunning Bettinelli stops from Sterling and Sane before half-time.
Sergio Aguero crossed as Sterling crowned a lightning break 98 seconds into the second half and the Argentina striker soon made way for Gabriel Jesus, who almost scored with his first touch.
There was more wayward finishing from the Brazil striker as City's forwards queued up to get in on the act, with Bernardo Silva blazing over in the 81st minute to miss out on the goal his wonderful efforts merited.
What it means: Timely boost for Sane
Since being named PFA Young Player of the Season last term, Sane's existence has been a turbulent one. A shock omission from Germany's World Cup squad, the 22-year-old was recalled for international duty despite failing to make City's starting XI in four Premier League games. He left Joachim Low's squad early for the birth of his daughter, but not before Toni Kroos publicly questioned his attitude. Guardiola defended Sane ahead of this match and the breakthrough goal settled him into an accomplished showing.
Pat on the back: Polished showing from Bernardo Silva
There is no shortage of prime attacking talent in this City side, but Portugal star Bernardo Silva was in irresistible form as his inventive playmaking, clever movement and velvet touch led Fulham a merry dance.
Boot up the backside: Sorry stuff from Seri
Fulham's commitment to attack might have panned out very differently had Seri not set their downfall in motion with his second-minute gift. The Ivory Coast midfielder chased shadows thereafter, making those links to Barcelona seem a distant memory.
City were able to wind down in preparation for their opening Champions League match at home to Lyon, with a more combative encounter no doubt in prospect at Cardiff City next weekend. Fulham must respond at home to in-form Watford.