MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 19:45:41| >> :60:172:172:
Nov 1, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Attendance: 35,271
Man CityManchester City
Diaz (18', 65')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Manchester City vs. Fulham - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Thursday's EFL Cup tie between Manchester City and Fulham.

Manchester City head into the EFL Cup fourth-round encounter with Fulham looking to further extend their unbeaten run on the domestic scene this season, as well as attempting to move closer to defending the trophy that they won during the last campaign.

Fulham make the trip to the Etihad Stadium having conceded 15 goals in their last four top-flight fixtures, and head coach Slavisa Jokanovic will be aware that his side must show signs of improvement in the North-West.

Manchester City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on September 29, 2018© Reuters

There is little doubting that Pep Guardiola's priorities lie elsewhere during the current campaign, with City attempting to retain the Premier League title and improve on their last-eight exit in the Champions League last season.

However, the Spaniard will still regard this competition as the perfect opportunity to sharpen the match fitness of any player out of the reckoning and further develop some of the club's youth talent.

Four players under the age of 20 made an appearance in the 3-0 victory over Oxford United in the previous round, and although Guardiola may opt against naming such a young team for a game against a fellow Premier League side, Phil Foden is almost certain to make another start.

The 18-year-old has been restricted to just 50 minutes in the top flight and Champions League, but the teenager was hugely impressive in the fixture at the League One outfit in September and beginning a game against Fulham will represent another step up.

Brahim Diaz will also hope to feature at a time when the playmaker is barely seen in the league, but Guardiola will perhaps take more from being able to give Kevin De Bruyne more minutes on the pitch after his recovery from a knee injury.

Guardiola was cautious regarding the number of minutes given to the Belgian on a below-par Wembley pitch as City beat Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night, but expect the midfielder to play at least an hour on Thursday evening.

City have barely missed their star man with 12 wins and two draws coming from 15 games in all competitions this season, but it is another boost for Guardiola who is beginning to witness his team move closer to the standard that they produced on a regular basis during the last campaign.

Guardiola will also want to preserve their formidable record at the back, with just one goal being conceded in their last eight outings.

Recent form: W
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW


Slavisa Jokanovic watches on during the Premier League game between Fulham and Watford on September 22, 2018© Reuters

Fulham were being tipped as having the potential to finish in the top 10 of the Premier League table in the days leading up to the new campaign having shelled out over £100m on 12 first-team signings.

A run in a cup competition was supposed to be regarded as an added bonus at an exciting time for the football club, but the large outlay in the transfer market has - so far - backfired and alarm bells are beginning to ring at Craven Cottage.

Jokanovic has watched on helplessly as his side have shipped goals at a frequent rate, and a daunting trip to City is unlikely to help the Serbian galvanise a defence which is playing with little confidence.

The warning signs were there when Fulham struggled to contain Watford in front of their own supporters during the middle of September, and four capitulations have since occurred in a short space of time.

Monday's fixture away at Huddersfield Town has developed into a hugely important game for both the club and Jokanovic - who will be aware that more defeats could lead to his departure - and the match with City will effectively be viewed as an unwanted distraction.

Jokanovic has already used 22 members of his squad in the Premier League, and it is unlikely that any players guaranteed to start at the John Smith's Stadium will be considered on Thursday.

Whether that proves to be beneficial or detrimental to Jokanovic remains to be seen because while his players will appreciate that a strong showing at City could change their season, they will also be aware that a heavy defeat could further hit their hopes of a resurgence.

Fulham allowed City to have 28 attempts on goal in the same fixture in the league less than two months ago, and the West Londoners will need to find a way to nullify the threat of their hosts in front of goal to have any chance of a surprise result.

Recent form: W
Recent form (all competitions): DWLLLL

Team News

Kevin De Bruyne in action for Manchester City on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Leroy Sane, Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi are all expected to come into the team having started the game against Spurs on the bench, and they are likely to be joined by De Bruyne.

Foden and Diaz should start further forward, and Oleksandr Zinchenko will expect to take his place at left-back with Danilo and Fabian Delph both short of match fitness.

Arijanet Muric should deputise for Ederson between the sticks, but John Stones and Fernandinho could be forced to play for a second time in three days due to injuries.

Jokanovic may restore both Calum Chambers and Alfie Mawson to the centre of his Fulham defence, while Cyrus Christie could return at right-back.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa should be given another opportunity in midfield, and Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen could also be provided with starting roles at the Etihad Stadium.

Aleksandar Mitrovic is likely to be rested, so Luciano Vietto is in contention to be named down the middle.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Muric; Stones, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Diaz, Foden, Sane; Jesus

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Christie, Chambers, Mawson, Le Marchand; Zambo Anguissa, Cairney, Johansen; Ayite, Kamara, Vietto

Head To Head

Thursday's meeting will represent the 65th competitive clash between the two clubs, with City having recorded 31 wins in comparison to 17 victories for Fulham.

However, Fulham have gone 12 matches without beating City, with their last success coming in a Premier League contest in April 2009.

City have since won nine times and recorded three draws, including a 3-0 triumph in the top flight as recently as September.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Manchester City 4-0 Fulham

City will rest many of the players which featured at Wembley Stadium on Monday, but it should not prevent them from recording an emphatic victory. Jokanovic's focus will be on Monday's meeting at Huddersfield Town, and the Cottagers are unlikely to make any impact at the Etihad Stadium.

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Fernandinho in action for Manchester City on September 1, 2018
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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