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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
January 19, 2013
• 10:00 AM
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 47286
David Silva 2', 69'
That's all from me, Rhys Turrell, head over to Goal.com for all the reaction from today's Premier League games. Until next time, goodbye.
David Silva ran the show today, his control and attacking dynamism was too much for Fulham, and often was too much for his less talented team-mates. He could, and probably should have had a hat-trick, but his manager will be delighted with his contribution today. For Fulham, it's another pointless away day. They played well in stages, and kept the ball throughout, but never looked like scoring and for that reason, they could get dragged into a relegation battle.
It's a comfortable win for the hosts, who after the early Silva goal, never had to break sweat to beat a decent, but toothless, Fulham side.
And that's the final action of the half, as the full time whistle sounds.
90' + 3'
Awful miss from Dzeko. Fulham are all over the place at the back, and Clichy, who has cropped up in a right attacking position, crosses to the unmarked Bosnian, who from four yards out places the ball well over the bar. Terrible effort.
90' + 1'
Berbatov is offside, surely he can't blame that one on his team-mates? He probably will, mind...
Four minutes of added on time...
Manchester City counter-attack quickly and Dzeko, powering in on goal from a central position, slides in Aguero on the right side of the area, but his shot is wide of the far post.
The man of the match is taken off to hearty applause.
Nice patient build-up play from City, and after a dozen or so passes the ball eventually finds Aguero on the edge of the area, he tees up Milner, but the England man drills his shot hard and high over the bar.
Another chance for City. Dzeko plays a ball through the Fulham defence which finds Aguero. He knocks the ball around Schwarzer, but the angle is to tight, and off-balance the ball trickles towards goal before being picked up by a defender.
Neat play from City. Silva plays in Aguero who belts it into the left channel, before moving across the penalty area and finding Silva who lays the ball back into Dzeko who first time strikes over the bar. He should have hit the target from there really.
The tireless Tevez is replaced by countryman Aguero, who returns after a spell out injured.
Berbatov receives the ball in the area, but under pressure from four City defenders, and with no support from any team-mates, loses possession. He's been very isolated today.
Sidwell wins a throw-in deep in the Fulham half - he's been one of Fulham's better players today. But the ball is conceded to easily by the visitors and a counter-attack ensues.
City have been in cruise-control from the first minute today, and that hasn't changed now. They're dominating proceedings now, and look set for all three points.
Well it's game over now. But Fulham are still flickering with a bit of ambition. They go forward in numbers, and Reither wins a corner, only for it to be wasted with a poor delivery into the area.
And he very nearly gets his hat-trick. The Spaniard is played through but drags his shot wide off the far post with his favoured left foot. You would have put a lot of money on his scoring from there...
And that's the game in the bag for City - and it's all due to that man Silva. He starts the move with a neat flick to Clichy. He then passes it back to Silva before a one-two with Tevez leaves the Spanish attacker on the edge of the six yard box and he clips it over Schwarzer and into the net.
Right, a host of changes seems to have halted the pace of this game. Here's hoping some tempo will return to the contest from now on...
Yellow CardJavi García
On closer inspection, Zabaleta kicked the bottom of Hangeland's boot a few minutes ago. That could be a broken foot. Nasri is on, he's returning from a three match ban.
Javi Garcia bombs down the right flank and with several waiting in the box, aims his cross straight for Fulham defender Reither. Terrible effort from the former Benfica man.
Zabaleta is back on the pitch after a spot of treatment.
The corner comes in from Silva and is glanced goalwards by Kompany but Dzeko is unable to make it count when he fails to stab home inside the six-yard box. A goal is coming...
Yellow CardKieran Richardson
City are dominating the play at the Etihad at the moment, and Zabaleta has just won his side a corner off Hangeland, although the Argentine looks in a bit of pain.
It's understandable that Berbatov feels frustrated here, the service into him is poor, and he must find it frustrating having spent the past several seasons with star players at Manchester United.
David Lynch reports: "Dimitar Berbatov is engaging in some world class moaning at his team-mates out on the touchline and providing some relief from the drudgery of this game."
Carlos Tevez finds some space on the edge of the area, but leaning back he powers a shot well over the bar. Poor.
City seem to be playing with a bit more purpose this half, however they will still need to do a bit more to get a second goal.
Bryan Ruiz is a graceful player, but my can he be frustrating. He concedes the ball far too easily in a central position, and City now have possession again.
Kudos to Steve Sidwell here. He conceded the ball in the middle of midfield to Carlos Tevez who raced towards goal before being stopped by a good tackle from...Sidwell. Good determination from the midfield man there.
Fulham have had all the play in the early stages here, and a Sasha Reither cross avoids everyone before being cleared to Steve Sidwell on the edge of the area, but his shot is high and wide.
Manchester City kick us off for the second half.
Here's the thoughts of Goal.com's David Lynch: "Half-time at the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City lead 1-0. The hosts looked set to carve out a sizeable lead after getting themselves ahead after just two minutes but Fulham's defending since has been resolute - even if they do look unlikely to create a chance of their own."
And that's all for the first half. Fulham might be a bit frustrated not to have scored for all the possession they've had, but their failure to create any real chances means the scoreline is hardly unfair. City have been underwhelming, but did not have to do much to get their goal, and they've been coasting ever since. If they can get a second early in the second half, then they should have this game wrapped up.
David Silva is like an artist amongst barbarians here. His graceful play creates an attacking opportunity but Dzeko and Tevez fail to control the ball, and the chance goes begging.
If Berbatov was frustrated earlier, he's mad now. He's really not happy with his team-mates for their efforts, but quite frankly, he's just a bit too good for most of them.
Chance for Fulham (well, sort of). Steve Sidwell does well in a deep midfield position and plays the ball to Dejagah who tries to play in Berbatov but the pass does not quite have the right weight.
Zabaleta has been faultless at right back so far, and he's just robbed his opposite number Kieran Richardson, as the Fulham left back tried to attack down the flank.
Carlos Tevez gets a hearty round of applause for a tackle deep in the Fulham half. He's been one of the brighter sparks in an otherwise dull first half.
City are almost playing on the counter-attack here, happy to soak up pressure without expending too much energy. It's shown in the possession stakes (over on the right there), with Fulham having more of the ball.
I must sound like a broken record, but once again Fulham's end product is not good enough. A cross from Reither is too deep, and Bryan Ruiz does his best to hold onto the ball, but is easily robbed of it by Zabaleta.
Goal.com's David Lynch reports: "This game is about as tepid as it gets. City seem happy to soak up non-existent pressure from Fulham before breaking with their array of attacking talent. Unfortunately for the home fans the ball just does not seem to be bouncing right for the chances to be converted, with City's players looking a yard short of the sharpness required in these icy conditions."
Up the other end, Damien Duff puts in an excellent cross which is met by the head of Sidwell but it goes narrowly wide. Great chance, and the former Chelsea midfielder did well to get in between Kompany and Nastastic, and was perhaps unlucky not to hit the target.
Tevez picks up the ball on the edge of the area and is pushed wide by Fulham's central defenders, and the chance goes begging as his shot is blocked by a crowd of bodies.
Yet again Fulham have time on the ball, but fail to capitalise. Dejagah crosses meekly and its cleared by Kompany, and then Karagounis pops in a cross that is miles wide of anybody. Poor end product.
Milner crosses from the right side of the penalty area and crosses for Tevez but the ball is just a little high for the Argentina striker and the ball harmlessly goes out for a goal kick. Milner has been bright so far.
Let off for Fulham. They give the ball away carelessly in midfield, but Silva and Tevez fail to capitalise as the ball runs away from the pair. That could have been dangerous.
From the resulting free-kick from the booking, Carlos Tevez takes a huge run-up and powers a shot directly into the wall. That looked painful.
Yellow CardGeorgios Karagounis
Very soft booking for the Greek midfielder. A bit cynical, but not really worthy of a card.
Fulham are back on the ball. Their play is technically very sound, but they have not looked like breaking City down at all. The home side are content to soak up the minimal threat.
The corner had real venom on it, and ended up missing everyone.
Damien Duff wins his side a corner after a good run down the right.
Louis Oyemike has got in touch with via Twitter to predict a 2-2 draw. If Fulham can find a final pass that scoreline could happen, they look good today. What are your thoughts, let me know @rhysturrell.
Despite the scoreline, it's been pretty even at the Etihad so far, and the atmosphere at the ground is non-existent.
Chance for Dzeko. Gareth Barry spreads the ball wide from the middle, and David Silva crosses excellently into the middle where it is met by the head of Dzeko, who heads rather tamely straight at Schwarzer. Either side, and he may have scored.
Karagounis floats a cross into the area after neat build-up play involving Berbatov and Reither. Fulham are decent on the ball, but lacking in a good final pass so far.
David Silva is running the show so far, but he gets his wires crossed with Carlos Tevez there, and the ball ends up being given back to the visitors as the attacking pair get muddled up.
City are back on the front foot now after Fulham found their feet with a spell of possession. No clear chances to report as yet though.
Good chance for City. David Silva builds up play in the centre circle, and spreads the ball wide to James Milner. His cross misses everyone in the middle, and reaches Zabaleta at the back post, but the ball spins off his chest as he tries to control.
Fulham are continuing to enjoy a spell on the ball, however their final ball is letting them down. Sidwell puts in a cross which is easily cleared, and then Sasha Reither does the same.
It may be early days at the Etihad, but Dimitar Berbatov is already cutting a frustrated figure up front. The Bulgarian is isolated, despite a period of possession from the visitors.
Fulham are having a little spell on the ball here, just feeling their way into the game a little bit.
What a great start for City, and that'll settle any nerves they might have. They have been totally dominant so far.
Great start for City! Dzeko finds space outside the area and powers a shot at goal which is only parried by goalkeeper Schwarzer, and David Silva pounces to slot home and give the hosts an early lead.
Carlos Tevez wins an early free kick after bustling his way through several tackles. City have dominated the play so far.
Fulham kick-off, and we're underway at the Etihad.
Ok, the players are stripped, handshaken, and ready for action...
Right, the teams are in the tunnel, and kick-off is not far away at the Etihad.
For what it's worth, I've backed a 3-0 home win, but quite frankly it could be more. That said, the last time I reported on Manchester City, they required a very, very late winner from Gareth Barry to see off Reading. So if they're not at the races, they could come unstuck this afternoon...
We're 10 minutes away from kick-off at the Etihad. If you want to get in touch with me with your score predictions, or opinions about the game, by all means get in touch with me via Twitter @rhysturrell.
Goal.com's David Lynch is reporting LIVE from the Etihad Stadium this afternoon (well, someone's got to brave the cold), here's a look at what's been going on prior to kick-off: "The teams are out on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium taking part in a much-needed warm-up in these arctic conditions. The visitors are likely to be fresh having made so many changes from their energy-sapping extra-time win over Blackpool in midweek, but they face a Manchester City side who are desperate for the points as they attempt to chase down Manchester United at the summit of the Premier League."
Steve Sidwell is back for the visitors, as is Dimitar Berbatov, who was rested for the FA Cup win over Blackpool. Bryan Ruiz also returns. It looks very much like a 4-5-1 from Martin Jol's side, and I'm not expecting Giorgos Karagounis to move very far from a position deep in front of Fulham's back four.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson; Duff, Sidwell, Karagounis, Dejagah, Ruiz; Berbatov. Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Baird, Petric, Briggs, Rodallega, Kacaniklic.
Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri return from injury and suspension respectively, although ominously for Fulham, they're both on the bench this afternoon. Jack Rodwell also makes a surprise return from a spell on the sidelines to take a place amongst the substitutes.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Barry; Milner, Tevez, Silva; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Rodwell, Kolarov, Nasri, Balotelli, Aguero.
Here are how the two teams line-up this afternoon, starting with the hosts...
The home side will be looking for three points to close the gap to leaders, and bitter rivals, Manchester United at the top of the Premier League this afternoon, and with Fulham's dreadful away record, that looks like a highly likely prospect.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! coverage of Manchester City vs Fulham with me Rhys Turrell.
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