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Premier League

  • 22 March 2014
  • • 15:00
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: J. Moss
  • • Attendance: 47262

Manchester City - Fulham Preview: Rock-bottom Cottagers need a huge upset

Manchester City - Fulham Preview: Rock-bottom Cottagers need a huge upset

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Felix Magath's side come into Saturday's game on the back of their first win under the new manager but face a title-chasing side with plenty of attacking pedigree

Rock-bottom Fulham need to pull off one of the upsets of the season but, if successful, could put a dent in Manchester City's Premier League title bid as well as boost their own chances of survival.

Felix Magath earned his first win as Cottagers boss with a 1-0 triumph over Newcastle last time out, ending the club's nine-match winless streak in the league, but Manuel Pellegrini's high-flying City will pose an altogether more difficult challenge at the Etihad Stadium.

13/10 Man City are 13/10 with Paddy Power to score two or more first-half goals v Fulham
The Chilean has seen his side dumped out of the FA Cup and Champions League in March but the Premier League crown remains very much within theirs reach.

Chelsea have pulled clear at the top but City have games in hand and their home record is exceptional. A return of 36 points from 13 matches on their own turf is impressive enough but factor in the 43 goals scored, with only nine conceded, and the size of the task facing the visitors is clear.

Furthermore, Fulham have lost seven and won none of their last 10 meetings against City.

Magath might cling to the hope that the hosts may be distracted by Tuesday's trip to Old Trafford to take on bitter rivals Manchester United but midfielder Fernandinho insists that he and his team-mates will remain focused on the game at hand.

"Right now we need to think just about Fulham, to beat them at home and play well, so we can take some confidence into next Tuesday against United," the Brazilian told the Daily Star. "Maybe we will start to talk about [United] on Monday but now it's all about Fulham.

"People might think Fulham will be an easy game but there are no easy games – every game is like a final for us."

City have regularly put teams to the sword this season but Pellegrini will be concerned about the goals drying up – his troops have netted just three in their last four Premier League matches.

Sergio Aguero's hamstring problems have hurt City, with the Argentine striker having been absent from their league campaign since January. He will miss this clash but fellow forward Stevan Jovetic could return from a hamstring problem of his own.

Captain Vincent Kompany, who scored at both ends in City's 4-2 win at Craven Cottage in December, is banned after being sent off at Hull City and fellow defenders Matija Nastasic (knee) and Micah Richards (muscle injury) are doubtful.

Despite the enormity of the challenge, Magath has faith, declaring to the press: "You always have a chance, even in such difficult games as Man City.

"I think City now has the chance to go for the championship and that is what they will have in mind so I think it will not be so easy for us to win there [but] I think we can defend very well and so, if we make it difficult for City to score, then I think we'll get a chance to score ourselves."

Fulham will be without defender Dan Burn and midfielder Ashkan Dejagah (muscle injuries), as well as forward Kostas Mitroglou (knee).

Scott Parker also remains on the sidelines with a knee injury but Magath is hopeful that he will return for their home fixture against Everton next Sunday.

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