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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Fulham and Manchester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After returning to winning ways in convincing fashion in midweek, runaway leaders Manchester City travel to Craven Cottage to take on relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday night.

The visitors crushed Southampton 5-2 at the Etihad in their most recent outing, while Fulham claimed a historic win on the Anfield turf over reigning champions Liverpool.


Match preview

Fulham manager Scott Parker pictured on March 7, 2021© Reuters

Liverpool were expected to end their home hoodoo when 18th-placed Fulham paid a visit to Merseyside last weekend, but incredibly, the Cottagers managed to prolong Jurgen Klopp's Anfield misery as they marched to a 1-0 triumph on the champions' turf on Sunday.

Mario Lemina's first-half strike propelled Scott Parker's men to a rare but unforgettable victory on the Anfield soil as they gave their survival hopes yet another huge boost with just their fifth league win of the season, as well as their second away triumph in the space of the month after another trip to Merseyside to face Everton also saw them prevail by two goals to nil.

Having lost just one of their last seven in the top flight - winning three and drawing the other three - Fulham have left Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion in their wake as they aim to preserve their Premier League status for another season, and Parker's men now find themselves level on points with 17th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, albeit having played a game more.

Fulham's new-found defensive solidity has seen them keep five clean sheets in their last seven outings, although their resolve will certainly be tested to the limit against a rampageous City on Saturday, and it has been their away form which has seen them inch closer to safety, with their results at Craven Cottage rather underwhelming by comparison.

Parker's men are unbeaten on rival territory since the turn of the year, but they have won just one of their last 10 Premier League matches on home soil and can boast a mere eight goals at Craven Cottage all season - the fewest in the league - so if they are to have any chance of clambering to safety before Brighton face Southampton on Sunday lunchtime, they will need to produce an exact replica of their Anfield performance against a City side who are firmly back on track.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring against Southampton in the Premier League on March 10, 2021© Reuters

Manchester United's shock victory at the Etihad was never likely to derail City's title bid, and Pep Guardiola's men immediately bounced back from the disappointment of their 21-game winning run coming to an end with a 5-2 thrashing of Southampton on Wednesday evening.

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez both bagged braces while Ilkay Gundogan also found himself back amongst the goals at the Etihad Stadium, and even though Guardiola would have been frustrated to see his formerly solid defence breached twice against the Saints, his free-flowing attacking charges demonstrated their usual panache to sweep aside their South Coast opponents.

The league leaders' staunch rearguard action has been admirable all season long, but a hint of apprehension may be creeping in for Guardiola as his side have now kept just one clean sheet in their last six top-flight outings, although their record of 21 goals conceded is by far the fewest in the league as they sit 14 points clear at the top of the rankings.

Man City will of course have one eye on their impending Champions League last-16 second leg with Borussia Monchengladbach - which will now take place in Budapest - but their trip to Fulham marks their final Premier League outing before the international break, and nothing less than a 13th successive away win will do for Guardiola as they aim to hit the 70-point mark this weekend.

The table-toppers cruised to a 2-0 triumph over Fulham when the sides first met in the 2020-21 campaign, and the Cottagers have gone 13 top-flight games without a win against Man City since prevailing 3-1 back in April 2009, while they have not beaten the Manchester giants at Craven Cottage in the Premier League since the 2005-06 season.

Fulham Premier League form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Manchester City Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling pictured on January 17, 2021© Reuters

Fulham's injury list includes goalkeeper Marek Rodak and midfielder Tom Cairney, both of whom would have struggled to stake their claim for a starting role this week, so Parker has very few selection concerns for the visit of City.

The hosting manager has options in abundance on the substitutes bench, with Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andre Zambo Anguissa all pushing for starts, but it would be incredibly harsh to drop any of the XI who started in Sunday's victory at Liverpool.

With Nathan Ake now back in the fold and available for selection, Man City are blessed with a fully-fit squad for this weekend's fixture, and changes will be afoot with next week's Champions League battle in mind.

John Stones has been benched more frequently in the past few weeks but will hope to earn a recall to Guardiola's first XI here, while Joao Cancelo and Rodri are also likely to return despite the congested fixture list.

Sergio Aguero is still being eased back into action so could be restricted to an appearance from the bench once again, while Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling - the latter of whom boasts 10 goals in 16 Premier League trips to London - may be trusted from the first whistle.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Areola; Tete, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Aina; Decordova-Reid, Lemina, Reed, Lookman; Maja, Cavaleiro

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling


SM words green background

We say: Fulham 0-2 Manchester City

Fulham have every right to believe that anything is possible this week after their Anfield triumph, but a fully-fit City represents a different kettle of fish to a confidence-depleted Liverpool. The visitors will likely be looking ahead to their European clash with Monchengladbach, but they should have no problem overcoming a Fulham team who have struggled for home goals all season, so we can only envisage a comfortable away win.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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How you voted: Fulham vs Man City

Fulham
11.2%
Draw
8.6%
Manchester City
80.2%
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on March 7, 2021
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