Craven Cottage is the venue for Man City as they try to bounce back from the disappointing defeat to arch enemies Man United in their previous Premier League game. Fulham have had a decent run of results recently and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run of four games. Their previous couple of matches have been hard-fought goalless draws away at high-flying Aston Villa and Liverpool, but the match on Saturday is unlikely to lack goals, as the last two visits to Craven Cottage for City have ended with a 3-1 win for City, and a pulsating 3-3 draw last season.
Blues boss Mark Hughes will have a few selection dilemmas due to the likely returns of star players Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Micah Richards. Despite his stellar performance against Paris Saint Germain, Israeli international Tal Ben-Haim will drop to the bench to accommodate the return of England defender Richards. Brazilian midfielder Elano suffered a groin injury against PSG in the UEFA Cup and will be out for approximately three weeks. His position will, in all probability, be taken by Robinho, who will add a much needed creative spark to the side. Lightningly quick winger Wright-Phillips will hopefully replace the atrocious Darius Vassell, who despite working his socks off, produces less end result than an impotent man in a brothel!!
Fulham possess a number of players capable of producing damage to City’s backline. Bobby Zamora, signed from West Ham in the summer, and Andy ‘AJ’ Johnson form a highly dangerous forward line. Ably supported by midfileder powerhouses Jimmy Bullard and Danny Murphy, Fulham are a side who should be challenging for the top half of the table come the end of the season.
Bobby Zamora ‘v’ Richard Dunne
After a puzzlingly poor start to the campaign, City captain Dunne has returned to hid best recently, contributing enormously to the wins against Arsenal and Schalke. Zamora has never been a prolific goalscorer but is always a physical handful, and the aerial contest between these two will play a huge role in deciding the contest.
Jimmy Bullard ‘v’ Vincent Kompany
‘Jim Bullard, Bullard, he’s thinner than Frank Lampard, he’s better than Steve Gerrard, Jim Bullard, Bullard’ is the amusing ditty sung by Fulham fans towards their midfield maestro, and while one one half of the chant is correct (the thinner than Lampard bit), Bullard is a quality player who adds bite and energy the midfield. Kompany has to be one of the signigs of the season. Sitting just in front of the defence, he intercepts attacks at ease and distributes the ball quickly and effectively. This battle will again play a major role in deciding the game.
John Paintsil ‘v’ Robinho
Pantsil is a Ghanian international right-back who was signed, along with Zamora, from West Ham in the summer. On Saturday, he will have the unenviable task of marking City’s superstar Robinho who will be desperate to mae an impact after disappointing in the derby.
Fulham 1 – 2 Man City
An entertaining game to be won by the visitors. Goals to be scored by Andy Johnson, Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips.