Opposition Focus: Manchester City


01/09/18 – Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle United
25/08/18 – Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester City
19/08/18 – Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town
12/08/18 – Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
05/08/18 – Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City (FA Community Shield)


Man City play a 4-1-3-2 on paper, but it is well documented that Pep Guardiola shifts his formations in complete fluidity from a 4-1-3-2 to a 4-3-3 to even a 2-5-3. The key element of the system is multiple bursts of high pressure when transitioning to defence. The outside backs, in particular, Kyle Walker, can be seen remaining high up the pitch and staying quite narrow for the initial pressure, then quickly retreat. In the attack, the two up top stagger to allow the outside midfielders to get wide, and bring in the opportunity to cut inside to create chances. Take your pick on who moves forward in these attacks, but when the width of the pitch is used, be sure that Walker or Mendy to take the place of Mahrez and Sterling out wide. This brings in the central midfielders to stagger as well, which then frees up one of the forwards to stay right in front of the defensive line and lay siege upon the goal.

Battle to Watch

Fernandinho v Anguissa: Zambo will be tracking back a lot. He will need to ensure that he does not give up unnecessary fouls, or lose the ball in dangerous positions. Fernandinho does not necessarily place direct pressure, rather he will let the narrow teammate pressure to take priority, while he stays back and pounces. Anguissa has been caught out in a couple different scenarios against Spurs, Burnley and Brighton recently. While he has nimble feet, and composure on the ball, he will be tested by the relentless bursts of high pressure.

Danger Man

Anyone but the keeper, Emerson.
In all seriousness, I would say it’s Sergio Aguero. He’s hungry, he’s consistent, he does not hesitate when he has a chance. In addition, he can pass the ball off to Mahrez or Sterling easily, He serves as the man at the front line, but tends to drop back in little pockets to reset passing plays. The most dangerous element of Aguero is that he can be unpredictable, and can fall out of the match, then spark to score multiple goals in minutes. It’s a false sense of security for defenders, but everyone knows what he’s capable of doing.

Last 5 Meetings

22/03/14 – Man City 5-0 Fulham
21/12/13 – Fulham 2-4 Man City
19/01/13 – 2-0 Man City 2-0 Fulham
29/09/12 – Fulham 1-2 Man City
04/02/12 – Man City 3-0 Fulham


Fulham wins 17
Draws 16
Man City wins 30

Stats & Facts

  • Fulham have failed to win any of their last 11 meetings with Manchester City in all competitions, losing 8 in the process.
  • Saturday’s match will be Fulham’s 250th away game in the Premier League. They have won 38, drawn 81 and lost 130.
  • The Etihad Stadium is the ground at which they have won their joint-most Premier League away games. The 3 victories there is tied with 3 at Bolton’s University of Bolton Stadium, Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and Newcastle’s St James’ Park.
  • In each of those 3 victories, Fulham came from behind to win: 3-1 in April 2009 (from 0-1), 3-2 in April 2008 (from 0-2) and 2-1 in April 2006 (from 0-1).
  • However, Manchester City have won the last 3 Premier League meetings at the Etihad Stadium by an aggregate 10-0 scoreline.
  • Fulham have scored 13 goals in their 11 trips to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League, but none of those have come in the first half of matches. The last first-half goal scored in an away league match at Manchester City was Steed Malbranque’s (2 mins) opener in the 4-1 defeat at Maine Road in Jan 2003.

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

Man City 2-3 Fulham (Kamara winner)

Magic! Iconic! Vital!

Just how do you put into words the moment Danny Murphy played Kamara through, to smash the ball past Joe Hart and into the top corner? Mathematically relegated at halftime, the significance of both the comeback and the injury time winning goal will never go unappreciated by fans of our club. Without it we simply wouldn’t have gone onto the heights we reached finishing 7th & going to Hamburg. Juventus wouldn’t have watched on as Dempsey tried to chip one. Instead, our history would have been very different and our uphill task of fighting our way out of the Championship would have started much earlier.

It’s surely one of the club’s top 10 greatest goals for its significance and is one of those “where were you moments?”

Opposition View (@Ratings_Mike)

Are you happy with the season so far?

It’s probably too soon to call it a trend but the early performances have been patchy, at least relative to the high standards set last season. The underlying numbers suggest we’re just as dominant but, to the naked eye, the build-up play has been more deliberate and we look like we need a little fine-tuning in the final third. To be fair, the same thing could have been said after four games last season – then we beat Liverpool 5-0 straight after the September international break and we never looked back from there. So it’s nothing to complain about!

What are your expectations in all competitions this season?

The objective is to win every competition, and we’re capable of winning the lot. But realistically, they all impact on each other and it’s very difficult to challenge on all four fronts after Christmas, compromises have to be made. I think last season is the benchmark and two trophies out of four constitutes a good season, anything else is a bonus. I think plenty of City fans would agree in saying that the Premier League is the priority), while the Carabao Cup is more likely (and arguably more fun) than winning the FA Cup nowadays. The Champions League is the pinnacle, of course, but it always feels like going to a party where you’re not welcome.

Is there anything from the days before Sheikh Mansour that you miss about your club?

The things we miss aren’t all down to Sheikh Mansour. Some fans still miss Maine Road, while many others became marginalised by the loyalty points scheme and other commercial measures that came about at the same time. For me, that was when the club lost a chunk of its identity and it was always going to take several years to feel normal about this new version of it. So given the choice of selling half your soul to watch the football we played under Stuart Pearce or selling all of it to see what we’re seeing now, you get your answer in a heartbeat. Take Mansour and all the money away, the fans wouldn’t suddenly get a better deal in terms of our matchday experience – far from it.

How do you think the game will go on Saturday and what’s your score prediction?

I’m hopeful Fulham will come and play their normal game because I loved watching you in the Championship and I’m sure it would make for a very entertaining game. Funnily enough, some of our toughest games last season were against Championship sides in the cup because they had a go rather than packing everybody behind the ball to try and avoid a hiding. I think City will win but I’d fancy Fulham to get on the scoresheet at some point. If you score either the first or second goal in the game, then it could be a treat for the neutral. I’ll say 3-1 to City.

Match Prediction

What a test this will be. If we thought Spurs was a tough match, this one has the potential to break our spirit if we were to lose. The threshold for getting results in the Fulham camp is fairly thin, despite our opponents, and this will be one in particular where we want to measure up against a tactical juggernaut such as Manchester City. Where Slavisa is a tactical genius, Guardiola is a master tactician, and he has his side playing brilliant football. We will need to have an emphasis to counter-attack at will, and take chances against their back line. If we can overcome the bursts of pressure initially, we will then need to maintain possession without committing numbers – which is counterproductive to our base system as we tend to build a high amount of numbers on the opponent’s side of the line. If we can get a result out of the Etihad, it will do absolute wonders to our confidence and synergy as a club, especially the heartbreaking points given up to Brighton before the international break.
My prediction is a bold one, but bravery is a trait that Slavisa promotes, so I’ll do the same. We’re going to get a surprise win here. It’s going to be a 2-1 victory, with Seri scoring the opener, and Mitrovic netting the match-winner after battling Stones in the air. City will grab one back through a set piece, probably Laporte, but we’ll hang on for all 3 points. COYW!!!

Predicted Line Up

4-3-3 – Betts; Fosu-Mensah, Mawson, Le Marchand, Bryan; Seri, Zambo, Cairney; Schurlle, Mitro, Vietto.