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Fulham away at Man City ~ Match Preview

last updated Friday 03rd February 2012, 3:01 PM


Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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The man Manchester City most need will be 3,500 miles away from the Etihad Stadium when they kick off this must-win game.

Sir Alex Ferguson says it's far too early for his infamous "squeaky bum time" at the top of the table. But his old rivals are wobbling and he must be grateful that Yaya Toure, the man who could hold City together, will be playing for Ivory Coast against the co-hosts Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter final in Malabo.

David Silva may shine and Sergio Aguero flash with brilliance but it's Yaya who cements it all; bridging defence and attack with his giant strides, covering, carrying, breaking forward, breaking opposition hearts.

In his absence, the table-toppers have lost three of their six games and were unconvincing winners in their two victories. If they don't beat Fulham, United will detect a real weakening of moral fibre and the danger signs will be flashing for the current leaders. They're still playing sumptuous football at times. But they aren't dominating imperiously as they did in the autumn, and defensive errors that went unpunished then are being penalized now.

They can't afford to lose their 2011/12 100% home league record against the worst away attack in the Premier League, even though Fulham have had a reasonable run at City, where they are unbeaten since November 2006.

Martin Jol might be relieved that Bobby Zamora has gone. Sources say they didn't hit it off. But it's a big ask for new-signing Pavel Pogrebnyak to hit the ground running. The Russian has had a lean time at Stuttgart, with just five starts and one penalty to his name this season.

The honest industry of Clint Dempsey will be more valuable for Fulham. He's scored three at the Etihad and without Yaya to protect the defence, he can get another. But City should have too much in the end and will settle a few nerves with a 12th home win in 12. Anything less will be a real blow.

    Head-to-head



  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last five league matches against Fulham since a 3-1 home defeat in April 2009 when Clint Dempsey scored twice.


  • However, Fulham are unbeaten in their last four league visits to Manchester City, losing one of their last eight.


  • Fulham were the last team to avoid defeat at the Etihad Stadium, drawing 1-1 on 27 February 2011.


  • Man City



  • Manchester City have won three of their six league matches since Christmas Day, losing twice.


  • Roberto Mancini has won 49 of his 82 league matches in charge.


  • They have won all 11 home league matches this season, scoring 34 goals. The longest home winning run from the start of a Premier League season is 13 games by Newcastle in 1995-96.


  • City are the only club yet to be behind at half time this season.


  • Fulham



  • Manager Martin Jol is unbeaten in all seven previous Premier League meetings against Manchester City, winning all six with Tottenham before drawing with them earlier this season.


  • Fulham have only won one of their 11 away matches in the Premier League this season, and none of the last six.


  • Clint Dempsey has scored an unrivalled ten goals in the Premier League in 2012.
























Source Jonathan Pearce at BBCSports
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