Opposition Focus: Manchester City


29/10/18 – Spurs 0-1 City (PL)
23/10/18 – Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 City (UCL)
20/10/18 – City 0-5 Burnley (PL)
07/10/18 – Liverpool 0-0 City (PL)
02/10/18 – Hoffenheim 1-2 City (UCL)


While it appears everyone in the Premier League and beyond knows the tactics that City will employ in every game almost regardless of opposition, finding a way to deal with it is much harder. As I’m sure we’ll all remember, our trip to the Etihad in September wasn’t exactly the perfect day out – as City’s mix of elaborate possession play and piercing counter-attacks saw we never really had a chance. While City have kept to a back four for most of their time under Guardiola – this season they have added an extra variation of playing three at the back against teams that drop deep into their defensive third. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus for how best to identify – let alone exploit – weaknesses in City’s game as they can expose teams in a number of different ways. Evidently, the team is likely to be much rotated from that which took on Spurs on Monday night, but even still the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne, could all be given opportunities from the off on Thursday night.

Battle to Watch

Jesus vs Mawson: When the Brazilian centre-forward first signed for City back in January 2017, there was a genuine sense that he could upstage club legend Sergio Aguero and take his place in the XI. For the end of the 16/17 and start of 17/18 – it looked like that may well have been the intention of Guardiola. However, the relentlessness of Aguero and a loss of confidence, combined with an unfortunate injury record, means that Jesus has struggled to live up to his own very high standards for a few months now. With Slav expected to perform another defensive reshuffle, it should be an opportunity for Alfie Mawson to push toward a starting spot given our significant spend on him and the poor quality defending we’ve seen already this campaign. However, a game away at City might not be the best way to up his confidence for the trip to Huddersfield on Monday.

Danger Man

Assuming City are intent on building the match fitness of De Bruyne after his spell on the sidelines, we will likely see one of the best midfielders in world football line up against us at the Etihad. So much has been said about his qualities that there’s no new insight to be offered in that respect. From a Fulham perspective, we can only hope that he isn’t sharp enough to make a difficult night even worse.

Last 5 Meetings

15/09/18 – Man City 3-0 Fulham (PL)
22/03/14 – Man City 5-0 Fulham (PL)
21/12/13 – Fulham 2-4 Man City (PL)
19/01/13 – Man City 2-0 Fulham (PL)
29/09/12 – Fulham 1-2 Man City (PL)


Fulham wins 17
Draws 16
Man City wins 31

Stats & Facts

  • Fulham and Manchester City have previously met on 2 occasions in the League Cup with each club recording 1 win apiece. City came from behind to win 2-1 (aet) in the 3rd Round at the Etihad Stadium in Sept 2009 while Fulham were 3-2 victors at Craven Cottage in the 4th Round on Nov 1st 1967, exactly 51 years prior to the day of this tie.
  • However, Fulham have failed to win any of the last 12 meetings with Manchester City in all competitions, losing the last 6 and a total of 9 in the process.
  • Manchester City have won the last 4 meetings at the Etihad Stadium by an aggregate 13-0 scoreline.
  • Fulham have scored 14 goals in their 13 trips to the Etihad Stadium in all competitions, but only 1 has come in the first half of those matches. That single goal, courtesy of Zoltan Gera’s long-range strike, put Fulham ahead in the aforementioned League Cup fixture 9 years ago before Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure earned City a 4th Round home tie with Scunthorpe.

Players in Common

Peter Beardsley, Wayne Bridge, Michael Brown, Andy Cole, Dickson Etuhu, Seko Fofana, Niclas Jensen, Rodney Marsh, Martin O’Neill, Pat Roberts & Kit Symons.

Magic Moment

We covered the obvious one last time around with the famous Great Escape comeback. So since it’s the League Cup, let’s stick along that path. The last time we played at the Etihad in this competition, Zoltan Gera scored an absolute belter from a good 30 yards at least. Eddie Johnson of all people can claim an assist as he headed the ball into Gera’s path. The Hungarian ran onto the bouncing call & executed a half-volley that would still be shown in adverts on Sky now if Ronaldo or Messi had scored it. It rifled into the far corner and the keeper had no chance.

We still lost that night 2v1…typcial Fulham! So whilst another one of those would be lovely tonight, I’d probably prefer the clean sheet & penalties, please!

Opposition View (@mancity_ray)

Are you happy with the start you’ve made this season and have your expectations changed from the start?

We’ve got to be very happy with our start overall. 10 league games, 27 goals for and only 3 against. The pleasing thing is that we’re not letting in many goals or allowing teams to have that many shots on goal. Despite losing to Lyon in the CL, we’re top of the group and should qualify comfortably. I still don’t expect us to get 100 points again, or even score 100 league goals. I’ll be happy if we win the league and any cup. Of course, going further in the CL would be good too.

How seriously do the fans take the League Cup now that you’ve always got bigger fish to fry?

Without wanting to sound arrogant, many fans might feel we have bigger fish to fry. But many of us like to get something in the bag early in the season and it’s a nice day out at Wembley in February! I still see us wanting to win this competition (and any game we play), but it’s the least of our priorities.

Fulham are the only side in England to reach a century of points twice. You did the impossible by reaching 100 points last season in just 38 games. Do you think this will ever be replicated in the top flight by either yourselves or anyone else?

100 points in a top-flight season is something quite remarkable. I’ve said many times that I can’t see another team doing that. We only lost 14 points during the whole season. Any other team that wants to equal or better that tally, has to get something against City to stand a chance. Just think, you lose 5 games and you can only get 99 points. Even though I think we are probably playing better than last year overall, I can’t see us having the luck needed to become centurians again.

How do you see the game panning out?

How will the game pan out? That really will depend upon the lineups. I can see us making mass changes, utilising some fringe players and a few kids. I’d expect Fulham to make many changes too because the league has to be your top priority. Even with our 2nd string, we ought to be comfortable winners. But you never know in football!!!

What’s your predicted line-up & score prediction?

Predicted line up is a toughy. Let’s go with 433: Muric; Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Brahim; KdB, Delph, Foden; Diaz, Jesus, Sane. Good luck!!! 2-0 City

Match Prediction

Hard to go for anything else other than a comfortable City win, unfortunately. Slav hasn’t looked too bothered by the League Cup in recent seasons and with Premier League survival on the line, I don’t imagine that’ll change on Thursday night. A repeat of the game in the league, 3-0 City.

Predicted Line-up