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VMC Preview: The Blues v The Cottagers

Manchester CITY

The City of Manchester Stadium

Sunday 25th October 2009

1500 GMT

Following 2 hard fought points won on the road City gear up for what is now essentially a must win fixture in the context of this season's aspirations...

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes:

VMC Video Link: MCFC.CO.UK The Boss Previews Fulham

Roy Hodgson:

VMC Video Link: FULHAM FC.COM Man City Preview

Brede Hangeland:

'It should be a really good match. They have signed a lot of big-name players so they have done well like they expected so it will obviously be a tough game. We have won two years in a row up there so if we can do it again that would be fantastic but they have a fantastic side and we will try and get something from there.'

Nigel de Jong:

'I'm very happy now to be out on the pitch every game and playing the best I can for Manchester City. I am the player in the holding role and I always try to do my best. I hope I can continue that way for the rest of the season. For me, a great tackle is better than scoring a goal, to be honest. I take real satisfaction if it is an important one...I love to make those challenges.'

Manchester CITY Team News:

The VMC injury update earlier today revealed The Blues are likely to be going into the game with stronger options than for the draws at Villa and Wigan and that Roy Hodgson has a few headaches ahead of his own selection:

VMC Link: City & Fulham Injury List Update

The Citizens from: Given, Taylor, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Sylvinho, Garrido, De Jong, Barry, Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Ball, Weiss, Vidal, Bellamy, Santa Cruz, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor, Kompany.

Player to watch: Craig Bellamy

Bellaminho was in relaxed mood this week as he accepted the Etihad Player of the Months awards for August and September from the club's latest City fan presentation winner. Sparky held him back from Wigan with a slight groin strain but the Welsh berserker is sure to be unleashed at some stage. Rigsby Petrov will be battling with him for a starting berth.

Fulham Team News:

The Cottagers from: Schwarzer, Zuberbuhler, Konchesky, Pantsil, Hangeland, Baird, Smalling, Kelly, Hughes, Dempsey, Gera, Andranik, Duff, Riise, Greening, Etuhu, Davies, Kamara, E Johnson, Nevland, Seol, Zamora, Elm.

Player to watch: Bobby Zamora

This bloke needs shackling and I'm expecting him to get some close attention off City's defence and holding midfield. He's already equalled his scoring record for the whole of last season and has been our nemesis before.

Match Facts & Stats

Fulham are the only team to have won at Eastlands in the last 13 league games.

The Cottagers have won three out of their last four Premier League games in our City.

Unlike last April's 1-3 reverse, The Blues have not lost a game from a winning position all season to date.

All eyes on the away fans section. 90 Fulham fans made the trip up to our League Cup clash last month. Surely they'll bring more with them on Sunday.

Top Scorers:

City: Adebayor & Bellamy: 4.

Fulham: Murphy & Zamora: 4.

Ref Watch:

Kevin Friend, Leicestershire Now here's a first! Mr. Friend makes his first appearance at Eastlands for his fourth ever Premier League game. The previous three have spookily all finished as 2-1 home wins...Current all competition record this season...Games: 7, Yellow Cards: 28, Red Cards: 1.

Match Prediction:

Time for some poignant facts. The last time Fulham beat City 1-3 at home, there were only 7 Blues in Sparky's 18 who now remain at Eastlands. City came into that game on the back of a chastening 3-1 UEFA Cup defeat at Hamburg, one of the 8 out of 13 league games that City lost after midweek European commitments. Fulham come into this one following a demoralising last seconds 1-1 draw with Roma. The robust City they will face have meanwhile had a whole week to prepare and Sparky's mode of using as few players as possible in an effort to gel the squad quickly has thus far paid off. I maintain that when it all clicks into place and this side hits it's stride, someone is going to get battered. This could be it. Johnny On The Spot: CITY 4 Fulham 0

Next Fixtures:

H: Scunthorpe United, League Cup, Wed 28 Oct 1945 GMT
A: Birmingham City Sun 1 Nov 1600 GMT
H: Burnley, Sat 7 Nov 1500 GMT

Writer:Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday October 23 2009
Time: 8:04PM


home win in my book - quite an easy one at that!
23/10/2009 20:57:00
Come on 'Johnny on the spot' score!
23/10/2009 21:01:00
hey merlin, we're not gonna forget that you're a Chelski fan when you jump ship... no need to brown-nose. :-P
23/10/2009 21:05:00
Sev - JB has predicted a 4-0 win in the match prediction section (Last box). I also think that Merlin is confidently predicting a City win as Fulham are Chelsea's local rivals. I reckon that we will win 2-0.
23/10/2009 21:17:00
I also forgot to comment on this part of the interview from Nigel De Jong earlier. "For me, a great tackle is better than scoring a goal, to be honest. I take real satisfaction if it is an important one...I love to make those challenges". De Jong seems to realise that he isn't the greatest player on the planet but that he still has an important job to do in winning the midfield battle which I think is a commendable attitude to have.
23/10/2009 22:56:00
Yep De Jong seems to be a level headed sort of chap. He does love his job and its great for fans to see him, Barry and Kompany fight it out for those 2 spots. Can't really decide on which combination I prefer, which speaks volumes about the 3 of them. maybe Kompany would edge 1 of the other 2 out due to his height advantage.
23/10/2009 23:05:00
Great preview JB, hyped it up well- I'm really looking forward to this game. A win for us and a loss for liverpool is one more week closer to the champions league! Fulham have been playing well lately and I expect a hard fought game with plenty of action. Might be a tight affair but we will see how fulham cope after their midweek exploits and the injury time heartbreaker!
24/10/2009 00:44:00
It was a fine line bewteen Europe or nothing last season, had we won we would have ended in 7th and a place in Europe as it was we didn't qualify and still ended up getting in quality players in the summer. This season we have to show that we fear no-one and that we can take the game by the scruff of the neck and put fear into all the sides we meet.
buzz lightyear
24/10/2009 05:57:00
Sparky increasingly comes across as a cool customer at the press conferences. He looks determined.
Johnny Baguette
24/10/2009 08:24:00
While, I'm on about the gaffers, I rate Hodgson big time. I reckon he would have made a good England manager.
Johnny Baguette
24/10/2009 08:25:00
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