With Fulham sat in 19th position and Manchester City just three points behind the league leaders, the immediate assumption would be that the visitors would be favourites for this tie. However, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side experiencing severe difficulties on the road this term, it means that many think that Fulham could get some rare points on the board ahead of this clash at Craven Cottage.
After being such a stable Premier League club for so long, there’s no doubt that this season has come something of a shock for Fulham. They’ve already lost their manager Martin Jol and at the moment, the jury is certainly still out on his successor Rene Meulensteen. The former Manchester United coach has experienced a mixed start and while the club were buoyed after a 2-0 win over Aston Villa, they were brought crashing back down to earth after their latest 4-1 defeat to Everton. In fact, that victory over Villa is the club’s only shining light over recent months and confidence is sure to be low following eight defeats out of nine.
Manchester City on the other hand finally seem to be getting into gear, and most people are starting to class the Blues as title favourites as we approach the festive period of the season. After a few early hiccups, Pellegrini’s side are now catching up with Arsenal and their recent 6-3 win over the Gunners has done everything to reaffirm their ambitions. Even though they are currently 4th, they could actually top the table if results go their way this weekend. We made a point of addressing their away form at the start of this preview and if you were to analyse it over the course of all competitions, it doesn’t make for terrible reading over the course of the last month. City have won two out of their last three games on the road, although both of those victories came in cup games. If we look at their top flight away form it’s not quite as positive, with the club winning just one of their last four on the road.
If we take a look at team news, home side Fulham have a couple of concerns at the back with Fernando Amorebieta and Brede Hangeland both ruled out through various injury concerns. Hugo Rodallega is another absentee due to groin issue, meaning that Rene Meulensteen has some head scratching to do in relation to team selection. Manchester City also have their problems, with Sergio Aguero’s injury being well documented over the last week. The striker is set to miss the next two months although this could pave the way for Edin Dzeko, who bagged a brace against Leicester several days ago. Elsewhere, there will be no place for Pablo Zabaleta who struggles with a hamstring injury.
Manchester City seem to be getting better by the week, and for this reason we think the Etihad Stadium outfit could net all the points this week. They’re not renowned for their away form, but with their opponents experiencing all sorts of problems our tip will be a 2-1 win for City.