I always like to go back and look at how my "keys" to each match actually turned out. Manchester City ended up winning the match 2 - 1 against Fulham at Craven Cottage. This article is in response to my preview of the Manchester City match for Fulham. Below is my analysis of "my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Manchester City."
1. Fulham need to stay even or ahead with Manchester City by the end of the first half. I guess you can say I was really right with this key. Fulham were down at the half 2 - 0 to Manchester City. Fulham came out very sluggish and Manchester City came out fast. This lead at the half definitely helped Manchester City dicate the match. I hope the team learned something from their poor start.
2. What kind of lineup changes will Roy Hogdson have for this match?There were definitely a a few lineup changes that affected the match. Brede Hangeland did not play, and was replaced by Chris Smalling. In my opinion Smalling I thought struggled. Chris Baird was moved back to right back. That was probably the smart move. Danny Murphy did play. Clint Dempsey again came off the bench. Also, Stefano Okaka came into the match in the second half. Okaka I thought was affective and had a very good scoring chance. In the end the lineup changes were to me a minor cause for the loss. The only change that was a negative to me was Smalling for Hangeland.
3. Fulham need to control the central midfield against Manchester City.Danny Murphy seemed to be fine in the midfield. Gareth Barry and Patrick Viera I thought were good for Manchester City. At times Manchester City did control the game. The midfield definitely played a role in it.
4. Can Fulham take advantage of the Manchester City defense with Wayne Bridge out? At times they put pressure on the Manchester City defense. They did not put nearly enough pressure overall in the match. Damien Duff played well. He really couldn't get a clear opportunity for himself. Bobby Zamora coming out early in the second half was probably a factor in the lack of opportunities Fulham had. Unfortunately, Fulham did not take advantage of Wayne Bridge being out.
5. Fulham's defense needs to contain Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy.Fulham did not contain Tevez or Bellamy. They were giving trouble often to the Fulham defense. Santa Cruz was also a big factor in the match. There was sloppy play in the back that led to some chances for Manchester City. Fulham are usually extremely solid in back. This game there seemed to be some lapses.
Looking back at the "keys", to me #1 and # 5 turned out to be the biggest issues on Sunday. Let's hope Fulham come out stronger on Wednesday, and can control the Tottenham strikers. I am sure those factors will be keys to that match.