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Game Preview - Man City (a)

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As Dave Kidd of the People quite bluntly put it on his Twitter account, "Fulham [are] in trouble. 2 pts from 5 games after City cane them next Sunday." It's a harsh assessment but perhaps a predictable one, considering the chances aplenty that were gifted to us last weekend. Maybe though, just maybe, he's a tad misguided. Maybe, Sunday's tie at the Etihad Stadium will provide the perfect foundations for a bout of much welcomed good form. It's not as if Manchester City away has ever been too troublesome for Fulham.

Dave Kidd has, quite gratefully in fact, relieved an ever increasing bundle of pressure from the shoulders of Martin Jol and his men with his sharp and frankly bitter prediction. What the journalist has bypassed, however, is the series of niggling doubts in the minds of those in Manchester - not least our surprisingly respectable form on their turf. Mancini's side have their first inkling at what Champions League football can do to your side in terms of fatigue.

On the flip side, though, Jol has most certainly inherited a side that struggles when visiting the bigger teams. Under Hodgson, the Whites coped admirably but under Hughes, no wins were mustered against any of the top foursides. Add that inconsistency to City's dazzling form book and overwhelming array of talent, and you couldn't be blamed for attempting to forget Sunday's game before it's even began. We need to win eventually though, and it's not unlike Fulham, or Jol for that matter, to do it the hard way.

Mancini's side tasted their first bite of the Champions League cherry on Wednesday evening and looked weary, if not still evidentially laced with abundant quality. Sergio Aguero was unable to reproduce his encapsulating Premier League form and their weaknesses were certainly there to be exploited by a well oiled Napoli side. Possibly a bit of WD-40 is all we need, then.

Aside from continental form, Man City have been sublime so far this season. They have a 100% Premier League record and haven't been shy of goals in the process. 5-1 and 4-0 wins over Spurs and Swanse respectively are mere victories to highlight their attacking intensity.

Fulham, in ghastly contrast, have failed to win a game so far this domestic campaign. A meagre front line display at home to Blackburn Rovers laid our lack of potency bare. City's defence, which is fragile at the best of times, are unlikely to be highly concerned - that is unless Bryan Ruiz truly lights up Manchester. 

Last time we visited the Blue half of Manchester Hughes' men picked up a respectable 1-1 draw, Duff being the man to save the day. When Mancini attended the Cottage last year, however, a 4-1 win for his team almost proved the undoing of our former boss. 

James Milner will be missing for the home side, as well as Nigel De Jong, although midweek saviour Kolarov could still feature, despite a broken nose. For Fulham, Aaron Hughes and Dickson Etuhu are not confirmed doubts, but the pair are expected to miss out through injury. 

Predicted Line-Up: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Baird; Dempsey, Sidwell, Murphy, Duff; Zamora, Johnson

Score Prediction: Man City 2 - 1 Fulham