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Premier League

  • December 21, 2013
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 25509

Premier League Preview: Fulham - Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini's men have been in fine form in recent weeks but will be without the Argentina international and have lost four times on the road already this season.

Free-scoring Manchester City will be confident of extending its eight-match unbeaten streak against struggling Fulham on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have charged to fourth in the Premier League table on the back of a run of form that has seen it defeat European champion Bayern Munich in Germany and league leader Arsenal, beating the latter emphatically 6-3 last weekend. 

City has scored 29 goals in that run and although Sergio Aguero (calf) is sidelined for the foreseeable future, Pellegrini can still call on the likes of Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic to play up front. Dzeko netted twice in City's 3-1 Capital One Cup win at Leicester City on Tuesday and is hopeful of continuing his form in the absence of the injured Aguero.

"Sergio has had an amazing season, scoring a lot of goals, and he is an important player for us," Dzeko told The Daily Mirror. "This is very bad for the team, but there are a lot of players who want to play. I am happy to score two against Leicester – that's my job. I hope it means I am back among the goals. I am a striker that has scored goals all my life and I love to do it."

With 19 goals in his 20 appearance this season, Aguero's absence will be felt – but the depth of City's squad means the 2011-12 champions are the most lethal team in England, having scored 47 times in the Premier League. 

Midfielder James Milner has flourished lately and was excellent against Leicester, setting up both of Dzeko's goals, while Yaya Toure and David Silva are again enjoying outstanding seasons. Jovetic and Matija Nastasic (calf) are hopeful of returning for the Craven Cottage trip, but Aguero and defensive duo Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards (both hamstring) will miss out.

Fulham sits 19th in the table following a 4-1 defeat at in-form Everton on Saturday. New coach Rene Meulensteen knows how important Fulham's home form will be in its bid for survival and a surprise result over City would boost the club's confidence ahead of a busy fortnight.

With games against Norwich City, Hull City and West Ham to come, the next two weeks could be crucial in the club's survival bid.

To beat Pellegrini's men, Fulham will have to reverse recent history, having failed to win in the last eight league clashes.

And the London club's home form against City has been poor, with its last win at Craven Cottage coming in November 2005 when Steed Malbranque's double gave it a 2-1 win.

Defender Fernando Amorebieta (hamstring) is a doubt for Fulham, with Hugo Rodallega (groin) and Brede Hangeland (back) ruled out.

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