Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday September 17 2011
Courtesy of our Europa League excursions, we`re back to Sunday football for the foreseeable future. This Sunday we welcome big-spending Manchester City to Craven Cottage to take on a side that is brimming with confidence and are neck-a-neck with Manchester United at the top of the table. It promises to be a classic encounter!
Danny Murphy, aware of our poor home form in the Premier League and our lowly league position, believes that Manchester City could be just the fixture to turn things around, declaring,
"Sometimes it takes a big game to turn the season around and get a win on the board."
"We`ve done it at home before, against the Manchester United`s, Liverpool`s and Arsenal`s of this world."
Martin Jol rang the changes for the recent 1-1 draw, in the Europa League, with FC Twente. For this fixture the likelihood is that he`ll revert, as far as possible, to his preferred starting eleven.
But there are injury doubts. The dependable Aaron Hughes is rated as very doubtful and we understand that Dickson Etuhu is also out of contention.
Bryan Ruiz, not eligible for the Europa League group stages is available again but may have to be content with a place on the bench whilst Martin Jol juggles with how to introduce him to the speed and vigour associated with the English game.
In his splendid green Kappa shirt he may resemble the Riddler, from Batman, but our Aussie will have a key role to play this Sunday. If Fulham are to get anything from this encounter then we need Mark to have a blinder.
Roberto Mancini brings his star-studded side to West London with his side on top form.
As far as we can make out his only injury concerns are James Milner (clash of heads last week) and Nigel de Jong (foot injury). On their Champions League bow Kolarov broke his nose but soldiered on and is expected to start this time out.
Fulham supporters though will be eager to know which of his star quartet of strikers will get the nod this Sunday. With Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko to choose from, it is a selection headache many a manager would kill for.
Slight in build but an absolute genius with the ball. Given half a chance he`ll be the supply line that`ll provide whichever of the strikers Roberto Mancini chooses to select.
Manchester City arrive at Craven Cottage with the recent form book favouring them. In their last five visits to Craven Cottage they have won 3 and drawn 2
Those fearful of a 0-0 result can take comfort from the fact that it is as long ago as March 2004 that a game involving these two sides ended 0-0. In fact the last fifteen fixtures have seen both sides get on the score-sheet.
It used to be away wins that were rare, this season, in the Premier League, its home wins with Fulham yet to register a home win this season. Manchester City, backed by enormous amounts of cash, has started the season in the kind of form that suggests they could stroll away with the title. Can Fulham get a result this Sunday? Why not! Nobody is invincible and if we can get about them then we could surprise everybody and steal all three points. 1-0 anybody!
It`s a relatively short stroll up the Fulham Road to take on our neighbours, Chelsea, in the Carling Cup during midweek. Next weekend we hit the road again, in the Premier League, to take on West Brom and a reunion with Roy Hodgson.
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Date:Saturday September 17 2011
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