Fulham - Manchester City Preview: Champions are winless in last four ahead of tough Craven Cottage clash
Roberto Mancini's side are in stuttering form and, having failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season, face a daunting trip to west London to face the Cottagers
By Matt Scott
Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise
Duff, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic
Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Sinclair, Garcia, Yaya Toure, Silva
Fulham boss Martin Jol is unlikely to make many changes after his side's win at Wigan last week, a rare away success for the Cottagers, though Dimitar Berbatov is set to miss out after injuring his hip in training.
Giorgos Karagounis was an unused substitute at the DW Stadium but could come in for his Fulham debut against Roberto Mancini's side with Mahamadou Diarra (knee), Simon Davies (hip) and Kieran Richardson (knock) all set to be missing from the Cottagers' midfield.
Kerim Frei and Ashkan Dejagah are both struggling with minor injuries, while Philippe Senderos is still short of full fitness after missing pre-season with a foot injury.
Mancini made 10 changes to his starting XI for City's midweek League Cup disappointment against Aston Villa and is likely to bring his more established stars back for the trip to west London.
City lined up with a three-man defence on Wednesday evening but will probably revert to a back four with Vincent Kompany pairing Joleon Lescott in defence.
Samir Nasri (hamstring) is missing from the midfield, so Scott Sinclair may continue after appearing against Stoke and Arsenal recently, while Maicon (foot) and Micah Richards' (ankle) absences will see Pablo Zabaleta hold on to his spot at right-back.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Fulham have only lost one of their last 13 Premier League outings at Craven Cottage.
- Martin Jol's side enjoyed a fine home record against last season's top six, recording two wins, two draws and falling to two defeats.
- Giorgos Karagounis (pictured right) is one goal away from 50 strikes in league football, in a career that has seen him play in the Greek Super League, Serie A and Portuguese Liga.
- Manchester City have only won one of their last six games in all competitions.
- The Citizens' form in games in London last season was inconsistent, winning twice, but also losing two and drawing another, coincidentally at Fulham.
- Joe Hart needs to keep three more clean sheets to reach 100 shut-outs in his club career. He has conceded in each of his six appearances so far this term.
- The corresponding fixture last season saw the Cottagers fight back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw thanks to a Bobby Zamora effort and Vincent Kompany's own-goal.
- City hold an historical advantage over the Cottagers with 26 victories to Fulham's 17 while there have been 16 draws between the sides.
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Top 3 Predictions
Fulham 8-0 Manchester City
- 24.9 %
Fulham 1-3 Manchester City
- 11.06 %
Fulham 0-2 Manchester City
- 9.85 %
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Jan 2013||Manchester City 2 - Fulham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||29 Sep 2012||Fulham 1 - Manchester City 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||4 Feb 2012||Manchester City 3 - Fulham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Sep 2011||Fulham 2 - Manchester City 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||27 Feb 2011||Manchester City 1 - Fulham 1|
|19 May 2013||Swansea City 0 - Fulham 3||EPL|
|12 May 2013||Fulham 1 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|4 May 2013||Fulham 2 - Reading 4||EPL|
|27 Apr 2013||Everton 1 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|20 Apr 2013||Fulham 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|Returns:||Fulham £5010.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Draw £260.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Manchester City £32.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|7||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The Swedish left-winger has developed into a key member of the Cottagers' squad this season and could do damage to City, with the right side of their defence having been a source of issues all season. City will have to be at their stoic best to quell the 21-year-old's pace and trickery.
The Argentina international made his comeback from injury against Arsenal last week and can maybe attribute rustiness to a poor miss towards the end of the game that could have sealed a win for the Citizens. With his side growing desperate for a win, the onus will be on Aguero to strike.
The champions have stuttered in recent weeks and Fulham are never an easy team to beat on their own patch. However, with most of the first team rested in midweek, Roberto Mancini will have a fit and raring to go side at his disposal and if they click, City are more than capable of picking up a first win in five games.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed