Premier League preview: Fulham host Manchester City at Craven Cottage
Last Updated: 20/12/13 12:53pm
Rene Meulensteen: The Fulham boss faces Manchester City at Craven Cottage
Fulham host in-form Manchester City at Craven Cottage as they look to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.
Rene Meulensteen's men suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Everton last weekend, but were 2-0 winners against Aston Villa in their last home outing.
The Cottagers sit just one point away from safety and a shock win over high-flying City could see them climb as high as 16th depending on other results.
City are unbeaten in their last five and come into the game in a rich vein of goal-scoring form, having seen off league leaders Arsenal with a stunning 6-3 win last weekend.
Manuel Pellegrini's side have since become the bookmakers' title favourites and three points could see them draw level with the Gunners at the top, depending on the outcome of the game between Liverpool and Cardiff.
Despite recent concerns about their away form, City are now unbeaten in their last four on the road in all competitions and they have avoided defeat to Fulham in their last eight Premier League meetings.
PAUL MERSON'S PREDICTIONS:
Fulham have been doing okay in recent matches. They played well to beat Aston Villa and they didn't deserve to lose 4-1 against Everton, that result was not a fair reflection. They can't live with Manchester City in this form though.
People say City have got a bad away record, but they have done pretty well in their last two away games against Leicester and Bayern Munich. I can't see past City.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3
Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta could return to first-team action after missing the last three weeks with a hamstring injury.
However, striker Hugo Rodallega will miss out once again, with the Boxing Day fixture at Norwich pencilled in as his return date from a groin strain.
Rene Meulensteen will also be without defender Brede Hangeland whose back injury will keep him out until the new year.
City will be without top scorer Sergio Aguero due to a calf injury picked up in last weekend's 6-3 win at Arsenal.
Full-back Pablo Zabaleta will also be absent after limping out of Tuesday night's 3-1 League Cup win at Leicester with a hamstring injury.
Stevan Jovetic (calf) and Matija Nastasic (calf) could both return to Manuel Pellegrini's squad, while defender Micah Richards (hamstring) is likely to remain sidelined.
- Fulham have managed just one clean sheet in their 22 Premier League games against City and none in the last 18 meetings.
- Manchester City have won six and lost none of the last nine matches with Fulham in all competitions.
- Darren Bent has scored seven Premier League goals against Man City; only against Bolton (11) has he been more prolific in the competition.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Stekelenburg
- 27 Riether
- 4 Senderos
- 18 Hughes
- 3 Riise JA
- 7 Sidwell
- 28 Parker
- 14 Karagounis
- 24 Dejagah
- 9 Berbatov
- 11 Kacaniklic
Team taken from Fulham vs Everton (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 14th December 2013
- 1 Hart
- 5 Zabaleta
- 4 Kompany
- 6 Lescott
- 13 Kolarov
- 14 Garcia
- 17 Rodwell
- 15 Navas
- 21 Silva
- 7 Milner
- 10 Dzeko
Team taken from Manchester City vs Leicester City (Capital One Cup) on Tuesday 17th December 2013
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Barclays Premier League
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Fulham v Man City
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is incredulous at the schedule facing his side in his first Christmas in England.
Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen is not daunted by the prospect of facing Manchester City on Saturday.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is refusing to take Fulham lightly as he prepares his side to face them.