Man City v Fulham 17:30 Sat
Despite their midweek loss at Goodison Park, Manchester City are firm favourites with Stan James heading into Saturday’s match against Fulham as they look to revive the kind of performance that has seen them sit atop the Premier League so comfortably for the last two months.
The last two encounters between these two sides have both ended in draws, but with Manchester United fixed on their tails, City may have to go that extra mile in recording a win this weekend if they are to retain top spot.
Martin Jol won’t appreciate the statistic that before Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Everton, Manchester City hadn’t failed to score in their last eleven matches while Fulham haven’t kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since 17th December.
The Cottagers will also be missing the midfield presence of Steve Sidwell this weekend after the Englishman was ruled out for six weeks due to a recurring hernia injury.
Manchester City will still be without Mario Balotelli who is serving a four-match ban for allegedly stamping on Scott Parker two weeks ago, but Jol will take no solace in the fact that Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko are still available for selection.
After the departure of Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson absent through injury, new signing Pavel Pogrebnyak will lead the Fulham front line and couldn’t ask for a harder debut.
City could open up a temporary gap of three points and earn some breathing space from second placed Manchester United should they win on Saturday, and can only hope that United slip up in their fixture against Chelsea on Sunday.
Allowing for the Wednesday’s blip against Everton, one would find it hard to see past a home win for City this weekend but Fulham managed a 1-1 draw here last February and Jol will be hoping to replicate the feat on Saturday.