Manchester City will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they take on a lowly Fulham side at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Matchday 11 of the 2020/21 Premier League kicks off on Friday and last season’s runners-up Manchester City will be in action on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium as they play hosts to newly-promoted Fulham.

It has been a strange season for Manchester City, who have shown signs of hitting top form, only to be pegged back by an unlikely opponent. Pep Guardiola’s men demolished Burnley 5-0 in the Premier League last weekend but failed to build upon it as they were held to a goalless draw by FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week.

Manchester City are still outside the top ten in the table, sitting eleventh, although they are just three points below Leicester City in fourth and have a game in hand as well. And going up against a Fulham side that is in and around the drop zone will present the Cityzens with the perfect opportunity to get things back on track.

Fulham are languishing in the 17th place in the table, having collected just seven points from 10 games. However, confidence will be high among Scott Parker’s men after they defeated Leicester City 2-1 on Monday night to move out of the bottom three. And the Cottagers will be hoping to capitalise on Manchester City’s inconsistent form on Saturday.

This will be the first league meeting between Manchester City and Fulham since March 2019 when the Cityzens ended up winning 2-0. And ahead of their latest contest, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Sergio Aguero is the only absentee for Manchester City. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero is the only absentee for Manchester City. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero is the only injury absentee for Manchester City heading into the weekend clash, with Guardiola having a fully-fit squad at his disposal. There should be plenty of changes made to the side that took the field against FC Porto in midweek.

Ederson Moraes is the undisputed starter in goal but there will be alterations in the full-back slots as Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy return to the side, while John Stones, who is on the radar of Arsenal, should also start alongside Ruben Dias at the heart of the Manchester City defence.

Rodri, who has grown into an integral member of the team, should once again start at the base of the three-man midfield. But there will be shuffles in the other two slots as Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne should return to the side after being unused substitutes in the last game.

Riyad Mahrez was in brilliant form the last time he took the field against Burnley. He should get the nod on the right flank, which would mean Raheem Sterling moves out to the left. With Aguero a doubt and Ferran Torres starting in midweek, Gabriel Jesus should be reinstated to the starting XI as the centre-forward.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Fulham

The Cottagers will once again be without the services of defenders Kenny Tete, with Parker confirming that there are no other injury concerns heading into the game. Having picked up a win against Leicester, the manager will be reluctant to make any alterations to the side that started at the King Power.

Fulham should once again set up with a five-man backline that will shield on-loan goalkeeper Alphonse Areola between the sticks. Bobby Reid played in a makeshift right-back slot last time out, putting in a fine effort and could be asked to essay the same role again, while Antonee Robinson should feature on the left.

Between the two full-backs, the responsibility of keeping the hosts’ attackers quiet will fall upon the trio of Ola Aina, Joachim Andersen and former Manchester City man Tosin Adarabioyo.

The midfield bank of four will see Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ademola Lookman take up the wide areas. The latter has looked threatening in bursts this season and could cause problems to a City backline that usually pushes high up, with his blistering pace. Holding the fort in the centre will be Harrison Reed and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

With Aleksandar Mitrovic being used as a substitute of late, Ivan Cavaleiro, who scored against Leicester last time, should spearhead the Fulham attack again on Saturday.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Areola; Reid, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Loftus-Cheek, Reed, Anguissa, Lookman; Cavaleiro

Betting Odds

Favourable Tips

  1. Over 3.5 Match Goals @ 1.800

Hot Ones

  1. Manchester City Asian Handicap – 3.5 @ 3.000

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have won each of their last nine meetings with Fulham in all competitions, netting 28 goals while conceding just three in this run.
  • Fulham are winless in their last 15 meetings with Manchester City in all competitions (D3 L12) since a 3-1 Premier League win at the Etihad Stadium in April 2009.
  • Manchester City have only failed to score in one of their 26 Premier League meetings with Fulham (W13 D9 L4), in a goalless draw at home in March 2004.
  • Following their 2-1 win at Leicester last time out, Fulham are looking to pick up consecutive away Premier League victories for the first time since August 2013.
  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 39 Premier League home games against promoted sides (W35 D4), winning the last seven in a row by an aggregate scoreline of 21-1.

Player to Watch

Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez will be raring to go after his hat-trick last week (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Mahrez will be raring to go after his hat-trick last week (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

After having scored a sensational hat-trick against Burnley in the Premier League last weekend, Riyad Mahrez will be high on confidence heading into the game against Fulham. The Algerian international is currently the leading goalscorer for Manchester City in the league this season, with four strikes to his name.

Having been an unused substitute in the midweek clash against FC Porto, the former Leicester City man will be well-rested ahead of Fulham’s visit and will be aiming to continue from where he left off against the Clarets last time out. With the Cottagers boasting the worst defensive record in the competition this term, Mahrez could be in for a field day.

Prediction

Manchester City 2-0 Fulham

Manchester City were in a rampant mood last time they took the field at the Etihad, thrashing Burnley 5-0. And even though they might have failed to find the back of the net in midweek, that shouldn’t be a problem going up against a Fulham side who have already shipped 19 goals in the league this season.

Even though the Cottagers will have drawn a lot of confidence from their last game, they could find it hard to breach a Manchester City defence that has kept three clean sheets in a row in all competitions. All things considered, The Hard Tackle is predicting a rather straightforward win for the Cityzens.

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