The Fulham vs Manchester City Premier League match will take place this Saturday, December 21, 2013 (7:00 AM Pacific) at Craven Cottage. Premier League strugglers Fulham welcome title aspirants Manchester City in a match of paramount importance for both sides.
Fulham have improved under new manager Rene Meulensteen, but their late collapse against Everton last week suggested that the Dutch manager faces an uphill task to keep the Cottagers afloat in the Premier League. It will not get any easier for Muelensteen, as a rampant Manchester City are the visitors to the Cottage next and the home side will certainly have to be at their best if they are to get anything out of the game.
Manchester City have simply been unbeatable at the Etihad Stadium this season. City’s demolition of leaders Arsenal last week was a testament to how they can tear any team apart at will. Therefore, it is simply baffling as to how City have struggled so much on their travels.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side’s title credentials cannot be doubted, but no team wins the league on the basis of home form alone. The Chilean manager will be desperate for his side to stop their Jekyll and Hyde season and get a consistent run of results away from home, starting with a victory over Fulham on Saturday.
Brede Hangeland and Matthew Briggs look set to miss the clash due to injuries, while Fernando Amorebieta is struggling with a knock.
In the absence of Hangeland and Amorebieta, Aaron Hughes and Philippe Senderos will continue at the heart of the defense, while John Arne Riise and Sascha Riether will most probably be occupying the full-back positions.
Veteran midfielder Giorgos Karagounis might make way for Pajtim Kasami, while the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Damien Duff have a chance to feature in place of Alex Kacaniklic and Askhan Dejagah ahead of the busy Christmas period. Scott Parker looks set to start in midfield alongside Steven Sidwell.
Dimitar Bebatov will perhaps be deployed as the lone man up front, which means that Darren Bent will again have to do with a place on the bench.
Manchester City will be without their talisman Sergio Aguero for the clash, while Pablo Zabaleta picked up a hamstring injury in the midweek Capital One Cup victory over Leicester City and will miss out as well. Mateja Nastasic and Micah Richards remain sidelined.
In the absence of Aguero, it will be interesting to see whether Pellegrini pairs up Alvaro Negredo with Edin Dzeko in attack, or if he will elect to go with a five man midfield, which will see Jesus Navas coming into the side while David Silva moves up field to provide support for the lone striker.
Young Dedryck Boyata could be recalled to play at right-back in the absence of Richards and Zabaleta, while Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany continue at centre back. Costel Pantilimon looks set to start in goal ahead of Joe Hart.
Fulham (Probable XI): Stekelenburg; Riise, Hughes, Senderos, Reither; Kasami, Sidwell, Parker, Ruiz, Kacaniklic; Berbatov
Manchester City (Probable XI): Pantilimon; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Zabaleta; Nasri, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Navas; Negredo
Fulham: L L L W L
Manchester City: W D W W W
19/1/2013 Man. City 2 – 0 Fulham
29/9/2012 Fulham 1 – 2 Man. City
Fulham vs Manchester City Prediction
If Manchester City had been playing all their matches at home, they would have been running away with the Premier League title already, but if the league standing was judged on the basis of away form alone, then City would have been languishing in 11th position.
It is clear to see where Pellegrini’s men are struggling at the moment. However, an away win against European Champions Bayern Munich would have given the Citizens an impetus to build on and confidence to start a decent run away from home.
But, it will not be easy against a Fulham side fighting for their lives. Under Muelensteen, Fulham have shown a bit of fighting spirit which was lacking under previous management and will certainly look to give a Manchester City side who are not very convincing away from home, a run for their money.
City head into the game favorites but will have to work hard to claim a victory. Fulham 1 – 2 Manchester City
Fulham vs Manchester City Television
The match will be televised (USA) on Mun2 and NBC Sports Network on December 21 at 7:00 AM.