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West Ham United
December 21, 2013
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 25509
K. Richardson 50'
V. Kompany 69' (own goal)
Y. Touré 23'
V. Kompany 43'
Jesús Navas 78'
J. Milner 83'
That's it from me, Harry Slavin. Thanks for joining me this afternoon and be sure to stay tuned for plenty more football over the busy festive period. Until next time though, bye for now!
FULL-TIME: FULHAM 2-4 MAN CITY. Pellegrini's men climb to second in the table but for large chunks of the second half it looked as if they'd thrown victory away. Fulham's performance was commendable, but the best sides win when they aren't at their best, and despite the win, City certainly weren't at their best today.
90' + 1'
Into three minutes of added time we go then. It has been a seriously impressive display from Fulham, but they'll be bitterly disappointed they won't have anything to show for it.
Yaya Toure embarks on a surging run that catches the Fulham defence on their heels. It doesn't quite bring about a fifth goal, but it does bring about a change of song in the away end, as Yaya Toure is serenaded by his fans.
The City fans have certiainly found their voices again. They've been singing constantly since Navas struck home the third. They've been stuck on the same tune, but the effort is commendable.
Pellegrini seems to think the jig is up for the hosts as he brings off his main threat David Silva and sticks in Javier Garcia to shore up the midfield. It's been a bit of a scare for the Citizens, but the end is in sight.
GOOOAALLL!!!! MILNER SURELY MAKES IT SAFE!!! Squeaky-bum time aborted as Milner makes it 4-2. The goal is all about the cross though, as Negredo sets up the former Villa star to stroke home with a delicious ball, delivered with the outside of his boot.
Still Fulham won't lie down here. Riether forces Hart into a stop from the edge of the area. If you are a City fan, you probably want to see the two-goal cushion reinstated. Squeaky-bum time awaits.
GoalJesús Navas González
GOOOAAALLL!!!! NAVAS RESTORES THE LEAD!!! Right off this side at your peril. David Silva plays a classy through-ball for his fellow countryman and he takes the chance expertly firing low past Stekelenburg from a tight angle inside the area. Can they hold on this time?
Off comes Nasri, who has been fairly quiet all afternoon. Milner is on for the final 15 minutes.
A sign of a response from City. They move the ball well down the right and force Amorebieta to concede a corner. The centre from Nasri is easily cleared though.
That really was an incredible own goal. City look all over the place now. Riise breaks down the right but at least Hart is quick off the mark to react in the middle to his cross. Surely Fulham can't continue this resurgence and complete the turnaround?
Own GoalVincent Kompany
GOOOAAALLL!!! YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS TO BELIEVE THIS!!! Vincent Kompany has just booked his appearance on a host of Christmas blooper DVDs for next year. He tries to clear Riether's cross but gets it horribly wrong, scooping the ball high up into the air. Jesus Navas tries to keep the ball out acrobatically but that only serves to add to the comical value as the ball sails into the top corner. Fulham level. And deservedly so.
Great move from Fulham as they cut open City! The ball is played out wide to Riise and he gets in behind to send in a low delivery for Kasami. The midfielder, who has just arrived on the pitch, can't sort his feet though and fails to get his shot away.
Jesus Navas take a fresh-air shot at the ball as he tries to connect with Silva's cutback. Fulham make another change as Dejegah comes off for Kasami.
Karagounis was booked for trying to bring down Nasri on that last attack. City cause themselves some difficulty at the back as a mix up between Kolarov and Hart brings about a Fulham corner. Both are relieved though that nothing comes of it and the visitors clear.
Yellow CardGeorgios Karagounis
A chance to make an instant impact for Navas. City attack down the left and when Negredo's shot is blocked, its finds its way to Navas steaming in from the right. He takes the shot first time but sends it wide of Stekelenburg's near post.
Jesús Navas González
Pellegrini feels the need to freshen things up a bit for City and Navas is on for Dzeko as the visitors revert to one up top.
Fulham attack down the right and Sidwell is inches away from connecting properly with Dejagah's cross. If he gets that on target we're all square here. As it is, the header flashes wide.
Riise hassles Clichy all the way to the bye-line as the City defender tries to shield the ball out for goal kick. The tails are up in the Cottagers camp and they are fighting for everything. Not something you'd ever imagine saying about the side under their last manager.
That goal is thoroughly deserved for the way Fulham have started both periods. They came flying out the traps in the opening half but just could not find a way past Hart. They have now, and City look rocked.
GOOOAAALLL!!! RICHARDSON FOR FULHAM!!! What's this? Do we have a game on our hands? Fulham half the deficit with a devastating counterattack. Sidwell sets Taarabt away and no player in a blue shirt is catching him, giving him all the time in the world to square the ball for Richardson to slide beyond Hart.
City almost out of sight in the first minute of the second half. Kolarov gets down the left and picks out David Silva in the centre. He slides in to meet the ball but can't get a strong enough connection on it to send it beyond Stekelenburg.
Away we go then. Has Meulensteen found the words at the break to rouse his team back into the game?
The sides are back out at the Cottage, we're about to get back underway!
Before today's match, City hadn't won a traditional 3 o'clock kick off all season, playing three, losing one and drawing two. They are well on their way here to securing their first victory today though. Can Fulham muster any sort of comeback in the second period?
Those two first-half goals ensure it's now 19 meetings between these pair since Fulham kept a cleansheet. The Cottagers must be sick of the sight of the Citizens.
HALF-TIME: FULHAM 0-2 MAN CITY. Demichelis is booked right on half-time for a foul on Taarabt but that won't change the mood much in either camp. Fulham showed real promise early on here but a lack of an out-and-out striker on the field is severely hindering their chances. Meanwhile City have been far from their irresistible best, but they've been too much for the Cottagers so far.
45' + 1'
Yellow CardMartín Demichelis
Exactly just what the home side did not need before the break. Their difficult second half task now looks impossible as they fall even further behind to a self-inflicted goal.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Meulensteen will be furious with the defending for this one. Demichelis is allowed to drift unmarked to the back post to meet Nasri's free kick. His nod down isn't dealt with by the Fulham defence and City captain Kompany is allowed to steal in and divert the ball home. A real shambles from the hosts' point of view.
Just five minutes left until the break. It's been a frustrating 45 for Fulham who don't deserve to be behind. The stark reality is that they are. And they now have another dangerous free kick to deal with, out wide on the right.
Taarabt tormenting again here. He skips away from a challenge in the middle and bears down on goal. He connects well with his shot this time but Vincent Kompany is across to deflect the effort behind for a corner.
Bad news for Meulensteen. Senderos, who looks to have picked up an injury in the last few minutes, has to be replaces. On comes Amorebieta, who himself was a doubt for this fixture with a knock. Will he last the rest of the game?
Great stop from Stekelenburg to deny Dzeko. The striker found a bit of space in the area but is denied by the Dutchman after Kolarov found him with a ball into the area.
Taarabt looks on his game today and he brings a good stop out of Hart, this time forcing the England number one to get down and tip his effort around the post.
Pellegrini's men are on the back foot here but they are still capable of biting back when their backs are against the wall. Negredo gets down the left and tees up Dzeko. The Bosnian possibly takes too long over his effort as it's blocked by Hughes.
Fulham sense a weakness down Manchester City's left and Dejegah and Riether link up once more to send the Iranian bombing into the area again. Again though, his low cross evades everyone in the area.
Taarabt picks the ball up around 30-yards from goal. He has scored some spectacular goals in his Premier League career but he won't add to them on this occasion as Hart gets behind his fairly ambitious effort with ease.
Back come Fulham, which is good sign for the neutral. Undeterred by falling behind, Riether and Dejegah link up down the right and the latter is allowed to roam into the City area after a clever exchange. He smashes the ball across the face of goal but no one can get a telling touch on the ball.
It may sound silly, but that goal has come against the run of play. Fulham's promising start has been flattened by that strike. Can they pick themselves up?
GOOOAAAALLLL!!! WHAT A STRIKE FROM TOURE!!! That is just sheer class from the Ivorian. Yaya Toure takes command of the set piece and steps up to lift the ball over the wall and into the top corner. Stekelenburg didn't even move. Postage stamp.
Now here is a chance for the Sky Blues to change their fortunes. They've been awarded a free kick right on the edge of the area as Sidwell brings down Silva. There are plenty of candidates here...
The transformation of City away from the Eithad this season has been staggering. At home in the league, they can make any side look almost amateur. Away from home though it has been a story of struggles and inconsistency. It's early doors but this is already shaping up to be another chapter of woe for City's traveling fans.
Riether gets forward down the right for Fulham to support Dejegah and delivers a menacing ball right long the face of the six-yard-box. Hart and his defence look on nervously as neither can clear the danger but luckily for them there is no white shirt arriving to make the most of the cross.
Pellegrini's side react instantly to that chance and force one of their own. Dzeko shows some great strength to hold up the ball and wait for support. Eventually it arrives in the form of Silva, but the Spaniards effort is deflected over the bar for a corner.
TAARABT!!! A first real sight of goal for either side and it comes from a mistake from Clichy. The Frenchman slips trying to clear for City and Richardson is quick to pounce, darting into the area and squaring for Taarabt, the Moroccan only denied by a smart stop from Hart.
It may be a decent start for the Cottagers but history doesn't favour them in this fixture. Manchester City haven't lost a single one of the last nine meetings between these two.
It's been a really confident start from the home side and Meulensteen will be delighted by the vigour his side have shown in getting forward. Riise is the latest to run at City, trying to get the better of Clichy but unable to get in a decent cross.
It's swung in by Karagounis and falls invitingly at the feet of Dejegah, but he can't get the ball out from under his boots and the Man City defence are able to stifle the chance. Not the greatest display of defending from Pellegrini's side but they get away with it.
Kolarov nods behind from Riise's lofted cross and Fulham will have the first corner of the game.
Barely five minutes in and we already have our first stoppage as Clichy points out the matchball is a little flat. Kevin Friend agrees and a new ball is ushered on. If it's round, I can't see what the problem is!
Manchester City kick us off and immediately give the returning Joe Hart his first touch of the game as the ball finds its way back to the England keeper. A nice show of support early on from his team-mates.
Referee Kevin Friend blows his whistle and we are underway!
The teams are out at Craven Cottage. The formalities of the fairplay handshake have been seen to and we are moments away from the whistle!
Meanwhile, the notable news from the City changing room is that Joe Hart is back between the sticks for a Premier League game, holding on to the jersey after playing in their 3-1 victory over Leicester City midweek. Edin Dzeko comes in for Sergio Aguero, while Gael Clichy is in for Zabaleta.
A big blow for the hosts as they face City this afternoon without Dimitar Berbatov. In comes Adel Taarabt, while Kieran Richardson is also in for Alex Kacaniklic.
MAN CITY: (4-4-2) Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Nasri, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Silva; Dzeko, Negredo. Subs: Pantilimon, Boyata, Garcia, Rodwell, Milner, Navas, Guidetti
FULHAM: (4-5-1) Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise; Dejagah, Karagounis, Parker, Sidwell, Richardson; Taarabt. Subs: Kasami, Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Stockdale, Duff, Amorebieta, Bent.
Kick off is on the horizon at the Cottage. Let's take a look at how both sides set up for this afternoon. We'll start with the hosts.
The Citizens last Premier League sighting will have served as a grave warning to all Championship pretenders, as they dismantled league-leaders Arsenal at the Etihad. It hasn't all gone Pellegrini's way this week though, as the injuries suffered to Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta took the gloss off what was otherwise a very successful seven days, as they also reached the Capital One Cup semi finals.
Manuel Pellegrini has brought his side south, to the banks of the river Thames, to face a Fulham side languishing in the relegation zone. Rene Meulensteen brought a bit of light relief to the Cottagers when they beat Aston Villa in their last home outing, but after last week's mauling at the hands of Everton, the prospect of facing a free-scoring City will not have been high on Meulensteen's Christmas wishlist.
Good afternoon and welcome to coverage from Craven Cottage as Fulham host Manchester City in the Premier League. I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be here to take you through all the action from London!
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