MAN CITY v Fulham – THE PREVIEW: What’s Your Prediction?

26 Feb

For the first time since the Manchester derby, Man City are involved in Premier League action, and after defeating Notts County in the FA Cup and progressing to the next stage of the Europa League, we must kick on in our quest for a Champions League place. This fixture also sees the return to Eastlands of Mark Hughes for the first time since he was relieved of his managerial duties, and following a 4-1 thrashing of his Fulham side at Craven Cottage earlier in the season, he will be more determined than ever to prove a point.

That thumping victory remains one of our performances of the season but Sparky, the success of whose tenure at Eastlands still divides opinion, has worked hard with his side and they are showing definite signs of improvement. They currently lie in thirteenth place, but with Bobby Zamora having just returned from a lengthy lay-off, they possess a real threat. In addition, they have a better record than most at our ground, having drawn last season and recorded a thrilling 3-2 victory the year before, which turned out to be the catalyst for them to avoid relegation.

Despite a comfortable victory over Aris, a game in which the tantalising quartet of Tévez, Balotelli, Džeko and Silva all featured, I can’t imagine Roberto Mancini will be so attacking against a more resolute Fulham team. With their partnership showing definite signs of promise, I’d expect Džeko and Tévez to be the chosen forward two, with Silva just behind and the volatile Balotelli on the bench. Nigel de Jong, Micah Richards and James Milner are all still sidelined, but Vincent Kompany should be fine after being substituted as a precaution against Aris.

This is the side Mancini could select:

                                                 Hart

Boateng          Kompany             Lescott              Kolarov

                           Y. Touré                Barry

SWP                                      Tévez                               Silva

                                                Džeko

Subs: Taylor, Zabaleta, K. Touré, Vieira, Balotelli, Jo, Nimely

Key Battle

Carlos Tévez v Brede Hangeland

The Norwegian defender is highly rated by many and his towering presence, combined with the formidable partnership he has cultivated with Aaron Hughes, is one of the reasons that the Cottagers are still in this league. The threat posed by Tévez however is different to that of many and earlier in the season, the Argentine was at his irrepressible best. Hangeland will have to cope better here if his side are to have any hope of returning to London with a share of the spoils.

Referee: Peter Walton – This is his last season as an official in the Premier League before he is forced to retire. I’m not a huge fan of Walton, who seems scared to make the big decisions.

Prediction: MAN CITY 2 – 0 Fulham – I’d expect the visitors to set up with a narrow defence, and look to initially play for a draw. If we can score early, like we did at Craven Cottage, it should be a routine victory but the longer the game remains goalless, the more tense it will become. Goals to be scored by Edin Džeko and Carlos Tévez.

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5 Responses to “MAN CITY v Fulham – THE PREVIEW: What’s Your Prediction?”

  1. Lloyd 26/02/2011 at 6:45 pm #

    What’s the latest news on Kompany mate? Has his hip been accessed yet?

    As for your team selection, think Balo will start and Dzeko will drop to the bench after two full games v Notts and Aris

  2. Citysince77 26/02/2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Fulham may have improved in recent weeks but I still think we should have more than enough to beat them. The display at Craven Cottage was in my opinion probably the best we have had all season given the media coverage before the game. The press as a whole pretty much wanted us to fall flat on our faces in that match, but instead they had to grudgingly accept that we were a good team after all.

    On the team selection, I actually think Mancini will swap SWP from your own selection and have Zaba at left back and Kolarov at left mid in a 4-4-1-1, with Tevez just behind Dzeko upfront.

    On the game front, I hope to see a similiar game to the one on Thursday when we got the early goals and closed the game out. Though I’ve seen us play Fulham at home a few times before now and it rarely goes to plan. That said I agree with you and predict 2-0 to City.

  3. Siamack 26/02/2011 at 10:02 pm #

    2-0 seems both a fair prediction and result. My only concern is players’ fatigue level due to match congestion and injuries to key players. We have some reliable players like Boyata, Guidetti whom Mancini should try to leverage during injury and match congested periods like this one. I remember City signed Gai Assulin , labeled as next messi, what is the status on this player, is he any good for first team action?

  4. HeavyRiffs 27/02/2011 at 2:57 pm #

    @Siamack
    Assulin has been getting his fitness, recently turning out for the EDS over the last few games, Michael Johnson played a full 90 too in the last game.

  5. alan bell 01/06/2011 at 9:25 pm #

    peter walton referee age 51 I have seen this referee four times this season and I must say his proformance has been first class I am sorry to say that some of the young fast tracked refs are not ready yet with the old system before you got to the top you were 38 to 40 years old and it worked many many games at the lower divisions payed off I am sorry to say that I cant agree that if you are considered good it does not mater how old you are look at the mistakes this season with the very young refs under presure and its not there fault hope you get 2011/12 season mr walton.

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