Pep Guardiola and his men will be keen to keep their upbeat form in the FA Cup as they host Championship side Fulham on Sunday in a round four encounter.
Manchester City will be all set to host Championship outfit Fulham in their FA Cup fourth round encounter on Sunday at the Etihad stadium.
The Cityzens have been in ruthless form in the domestic cup competitions and are all set to retain both the EFL cup and FA Cup this time around as well. Pep Guardiola’s men are coming to this game with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the Premier League while they defeated Port Vale 4-1 in the 3rd round of FA Cup earlier this month.
Meanwhile Fulham are eyeing a promotion back to the Premier League next season and Scott Parker’s men are currently in the third spot only behind Leeds and West Brom. The Cottagers are coming to this game after playing out a 0-0 stalemate against Charlton Athletic. Fulham defeated Aston Villa 2-1 in the third round of FA Cup and will have a mountain to climb against City.
Ahead of this exciting FA Cup fourth round clash, we at The Hard Tackle will take a closer look at both the sides.
Tactics and Team News
Pep Guardiola is likely to field a strong lineup despite facing a lower league opponent. The Spaniard does not have any fresh injury concerns and will have more or less the whole squad to chose from.
The Cityzens may continue with their conventional 4-3-3 formation with Claudio Bravo replacing Ederson in goal with the Chilean being the cup regular for Guardiola. In defence youngster Eric Garcia may start partnering John Stones, who is likely to shake off a niggle ahead of this clash. Joao Cancelo and Angelino are the likely full-back options.
In midfield Rodri may slot in as the holding midfielder role while Phil Foden may look to keep his place being another one of the cup regulars. David Silva may get the nod and will look to provide creativity to the whole unit.
Upfront Bernardo Silva is likely to replace Riyad Mahrez on the right flank while Raheem Sterling will keep his place on the left with Gabriel Jesus leading the lines as he most often does in cup fixtures.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Cancelo, Garcia, Stones, Angelino; Foden, Rodri, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Sterling
Scott Parker will be without towering Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic as he is sidelined for months and won’t take part in this fixture. Players like Anthony Knockaert and Aboubakar Kamara are also on their road to recovery and are unlikely to be risked in this fixture.
It will be a huge blow for the Cottagers as their attacking trio have scored half of their 42 goals this season. However Parker may give chances to others to prove their worth against a quality side. They are likely to shift to a 4-4-2 formation with their Slovak custodian Marek Rodák in goal.
Michael Hector is likely to partner USA international Tim Ream at the centre of the backline while Cyrus Christie and Denis Odoi will start in the full-back positions.
Former Bournemouth man Harry Arter is set to control the proceedings for Fulham in the middle of the park alongside Kevin McDonald with Stefan Johansen and Josh Onomah providing the Cottagers with the much-needed width on the flanks.
In attack Ivan Cavaleiro will lead the lines alongside Jamaican international Bobby Reid. Cavaleiro is in good goalscoring form having scored 6 goals and 6 assists in the Championship this season.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Rodak; Christie, Hector, Ream, Odoi; Onomah, McDonald, Arter, Johansen; Cavaleiro, Reid
- Manchester City last faced Fulham in the FA Cup in 1914 – a 2-0 home win at Hyde Road.
- City have won the past eight meetings with Fulham in all competitions, by an aggregate score of 23-3.
- The Sky Blues are undefeated in 14 matches against Fulham (W11, D3).
- Fulham’s past three wins against City have all come away from home in the Premier League, in April 2009, April 2008 and April 2006.
Player to Watch
The Brazilian has mostly played second fiddle to Sergio Aguero considering the class and pedigree of the Argentine. However in cup matches Jesus needs to step up much like he has done this season.
Pep Guardiola mostly uses him as a squad player to rest Aguero at times and in that process, the Brazil international has already scored nine goals along with four assists in the Premier League this season while he has also notched up four goals in the Champions League.
Now it is his time to shine in the FA Cup and guide Manchester City through to the next round as they look to defend the domestic cup title after their disappointing and inconsistent league performances this season. If Jesus can come up with a great performance against Fulham it will only increase Guardiola’s selection conundrum in future cup games.
Manchester City 3-0 Fulham
The reigning FA Cup champions should dominate against Championship outfit Fulham as there is a stark difference in quality even among the squad players for City and first-team players for the Cottagers. Also with their attacking trio out injured, it makes the task at hand much more monumental task for Scott Parker’s men. The Hard Tackle predicts a dominating 3-0 win for the City.