MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 07:05:30
Nov 1, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Attendance: 35,271
Man CityManchester City
2-0
Fulham
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


Fulham

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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Who will win Thursday's EFL Cup tie between Manchester City and Fulham?

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Fernandinho in action for Manchester City on September 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154124260
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132232-1022
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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