Mar 21, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
- Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero have combined (24) for more goals than all of Fulham (22)
- Fulham hasn’t won consecutive league games since October
- Only Norwich has conceded more away goals than Fulham this season
On Saturday, Manchester City welcome relegation threatened Fulham to the Etihad (watch live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 11am ET) as Manuel Pellegrini’s squad hopes to secure maximum points ahead of a grueling away schedule.
With the Citizens facing trips to Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool in their next four fixtures, it is of vital importance that they send Fulham back empty-handed.
Fulham remain mired in last place, but a win last weekend against Newcastle has temporarily given the Cottagers hope.
Giving the visitors an even brighter glimmer of hope will be key absences on either end of the Manchester City teamsheet.
Captain Vincent Kompany will not be available along the back line due to suspension, likely forcing reserve defender Jolean Lescott into duty alongside Martin Demichelis. In addition, leading scorer Sergio Aguero will miss out thanks to a hamstring injury.
Aguero won’t be back until after next weekend’s Manchester derby, leaving Alvaro Negredo to lead the City attack this weekend and in the near future.
With Fulham sitting bottom of the table, they need points wherever they can find them, but will be without key players as well. The club confirmed that due to injury, the trio of Kostas Mitroglou, Ashkan Dejagah, and Dan Burn will not play a part this weekend. Dejagah scored the winner against Newcastle last weekend.
Whites fans will take solace in memories, recalling the club’s miraculous win in 2008 over Manchester City that began a three-game winning streak to save their Premier League status in what is known as the Great Escape.
What they’re saying:
Manuel Pellegrini on missing captain Vincent Kompany: “He is a very important player but we have had so many injuries during the whole year from different players and always we have managed to play well. I am sure the players who will play tomorrow instead of Vincent will play well.”
Fulham manager Felix Magath on former player Edin Dzeko: “Edin has a different situation here (than in Germany). He is not the only striker at Manchester City and there are a lot of very good players. Perhaps he should come to Fulham and he could score a lot more goals than he does at City.”
Fulham midfielder William Kvist on life at the bottom: “A victory just changes everything; the mood, and in training, it lifts you a notch higher so it was really important for us. I get this feeling that it’s still in our hands – we have a lot of games left and we need to play really well, that’s the way I see it.”
The Newcastle win will give the struggling visitors a boost, and they may prove stubborn for the first half, but the legs will get tired and the pace of Negredo up the middle and the stacked Manchester City wings will be too much for the Whites. While an away win would once again prove to be a season-saver for the bottom side, there’s a reason City are 1/7 favorites to win. This fixture has 2-0 Manchester City written all over it, with both goals coming in the second half.
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