Sat, Feb 26, 7:40am by Kevin Pitstock
This match has an interesting sub-plot – the return to Eastlands of former manager Mark Hughes. It was often thought that Hughes was harshly dealt with when he was dimissed by City, so he may have an in-form Fulham side fired up for this fixture. This is City’s first league game in a fortnight, with two Europa League fixtures and an FA Cup match jammed in between. The race for a top four place has become even tighter after their defeat by neighbours Manchester United, while Fulham, despite their good form in 2011 and far from safe from relegation.
MANCHESTER CITY PREVIEW
City have responded well to their Manchester derby defeat, by easily knocking Aris Salonika out of the Europa League and putting five past Notts County in the FA Cup. Perhaps the most important thing is that big money striker Edin Dzeko is starting to settle in. He’s bagged three goals in those two games and that should give him confidence after what has looked a slightly shaky start since his move from Wolfsburg. City hope to have the influential Vincent Kompany available to play after picking up a hip injury on Thursday – his presence would certainly be missed. James Milner and Micah Richards are struggling to be fit. City have struggled in the league, with 4 points from their last four matches, but they are looking for a 5th straight win at home. They also remain tough to score past at Eastlands.
While the Mark Hughes factor adds some extra interest, the most notable facts when it comes to Fulham is their form in 2011, which has shown a great leap forward after a poor start under the former Manchester United and Chelsea striker. They have just one defeat in 7 Premier League games, but their away form is still vile – 1 lone victory at Stoke in 31 matches. They do have striker Bobby Zamora back from his broken leg. He was a big part in Fulham’s success last season, but will no doubt need time to return to match sharpness. One thing Fulham do boast though, is a good record in this fixture. They have picked up two wins and a draw in their last three matches at Manchester City. This is definitely a tougher task than even a year ago though.
MANCHESTER CITY v FULHAM BEST BET AND PREDICTION
City should be able to win here, especially after their 4-1 win in the away fixture. We like a 2-0 City victory here, while the best bet looks to be the half-time draw with City to win at full time at $3.80 with Sportingbet Australia.
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