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VMC Preview: The Cottagers v The Blues

Manchester City

Craven Cottage

Sunday 21st March 2010

16h00 GMT

City head to Laandaarn Taarn again for our 3rd away trip on the bounce. Buzzing Fulham will be a tough proposition as The Blues' 'Race Four Fourth' intensifies...

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:

'They played very well against Juventus and I was very impressed by them. It's going to be difficult for us on Sunday, but maybe they will be tired. I still think they will go with a strong team. They may change some players, but I am sure that they won't change their approach, and they will be taking this game just as seriously.

'I know Roy Hodgson from his time in Italy, he's a good person, a good manager and with all his experience he knows a lot about football. He's done very well at Fulham, and he has a lot of respect in Italy because of his time with Inter.'

Roy Hodgson:

Press Conference Quotes To Follow

Paddy Vieira:

'I've watched Fulham a few times this season, particularly when they've played in the Europa Cup and I think they are a very good side.

'Since Roy Hodgson took over they have been really well-organised and difficult to break down. They work very hard for each other and they are very difficult to beat on their own ground.

'Craven Cottage is a traditional English ground, too and never an easy place to go. It's quite a tight stadium with the fans right on top of you and I don't think anyone relishes going there. But I think we've shown we can battle as well as play good football. We proved against Chelsea and Sunderland that we react well to going behind in games and have a great spirit within our team.

'What we need to do is make sure we score first and then push on. If we can do that at Fulham, I think we can go on and take all three points.'

Nicky Shorey:

'They've got plenty of talent and pace, so we're going to have to be on our guard. You don't want to give them too much space or they will hurt you. They've got top quality all over the pitch. We're all going to have to have a good game to get a result.'

VMC City Video Link: Mancio Fulham Press Conference

Fulham Team News:

Andrew Johnson and John Pantsil are knee knacked.

Former Blue Dickson Etuhu and David Elm are doubtful.

Danny Murphy and Jonathan Greening return from suspension.

Player to watch: Bobby Zamora

This is the bloke who makes Fulham tick and will need containing. Paddy Vieira said of him this week:

'Bobby Zamora is having a great season and he seems a much more complete player these days. He's very strong and excellent at holding the ball up and he's also been scoring and making goals, too, so he will be a threat.'

Manchester City Team News:

Javier Garrido returns in place of hernia victim Wayne Bridge.

Otherwise, outside of long term absentees Michael Johnson and Martin Petrov the City squad has a clean bill of health.

Emmanuel Adebayor remains suspended.

Player to watch: Patrick Vieira

Increasingly emerging as Mancio's lieutenant, Vieira's fitness has improved drastically since he came to Manchester.

He will have an important role to play for us in the 10 game mini season which starts at Fulham.

This is a time for winners and experienced, cool heads.

Match Facts & Stats

Both Roy Hodgson and Roberto Mancini managed Inter Milan. Get this. The last time the two gaffers met was in Serie A in October 2001: Fiorentina (Mancio) 2 Udinese 1 (Hodgson).

Fulham haven't beaten City at home since November 2005.

Last season, City lost 8 out of 13 Premier League fixtures that followed midweek European games. A classic example was our 3-1 defeat in Hamburg which was swiftly followed by a 1-3 defeat by Fulham at Eastlands!!!

Lending weight to the theory that European exertions can take their toll as the season wears on depending on the depth of your squad, 7 of Fulham's last 13 Premier League games have ended in draws.

The Citizens have won only 4 of a total 15 away league games during this campaign. But as our 10 game mini-season starts, 6 of the remaining 9 fixtures after Fulham will take place in Manchester.

No other club has lost fewer league games than The Blues with only 4 defeats this season.

Follow the action and debate Live on Sunday in the VMC Match Day Thread in our new look forums!:
MATCHDAY THREAD: Fulham v Manchester City Match Day Thread

Ref Watch:

b>Lee Probert, Gloucestershire. This will be only Mr. Probert's second reffing of City this season having presided over City's abysmal draw at home to Hull last November. Our records show that he hasn't referreed at Craven Cottage since August 2007 and Fulham's then 2-1 win over Bolton. This season he has yet to officiate a Fulham game. Has a tendency to go mental with yellow cards if the mood takes him. Current season record: Games:25, Yellow Cards:94 Red Cards:4

Match Prediction:

Well, we are unbeaten in this trio of difficult away trips to date taking 4 crucial points from Chelsea and Sunderland. We'd have settled for that, but everyone associated with the club knows that a win at Fulham would give our Champions League hopes a major shot in the arm. Particulalry as so many our remaining games will be at Fortress Eastlands. There is a massive respect for Roy Hodgson at VMC. He's taken Fulham into outer space with his achievements and City will need to strike early to dampen the party atmosphere which will engulf Craven Cottage following that sensational win over Juventus. I predict the two sides will slug it out toe to toe in a thriller with City edging it through fresher legs and Fulham having one eye on the FA Cup and the other on the Europa League at crucial moments! Johnny On The Spot: Fulham 1 CITY 2

Next Fixtures:

H: Everton, Wed 24 Mar 19h45 GMT
H: Wigan, Mon 29 Mar 20h00 GMT
A: Burnley, Sat 03 Apr 17h30 GMT
H: Birmingham, Sun 11 Apr 16h00 GMT
H: The rags, Sat 17 Apr 12h45 GMT
A: Arsenal, Sat 24 Apr 17h30 GMT
H: Aston Villa, Sat 01 May 15h00 GMT
H: Spurs, Wed 05 May 20h00 GMT
A: West Ham, Sun 09 May 15h00 GMT

Writer:Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday March 20 2010
Time: 10:31AM

Best of International Football News



City had fresher legs against sunderland and still came close to defeat last week. Fulhams players will be galvanised after beating juventus and their home form is good. City are hopeless away, it would be interesting to see what city could do if we actually scored first away from home. Seems like we have mantal block of concedeing first. If the overrated "world class" kompany has a good game, we could get a point. Getting three points consistantly are beyond us, especailly away from home, because A) we are historically awful away from home B) Any team that plays direct and hard (wigan, birmingham, fulham, hull, villa, sunderland, stoke, etc) will take points of us C) City team simply isnt good enough yet. Fulham 2- 1 city
Super City Slicker
20/03/2010 10:46:00
You certainly don't sound optimistic SCS! I'm happier with VK at the back than Toure with what we have now. I think we suffered "two weeks off syndrome" last weekend. We could've done with playing rapidly after the Chelsea win. Still, glass half full for me. Get something at Fulham and we then have 6 games out 9 at home. It's all to play for.
Johnny Baguette
20/03/2010 12:46:00
Great Villa have dropped a couple of points home to Wolves. Come on Stoke do the same to the Spuds.
20/03/2010 14:46:00
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