Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday January 18 2013
This weekend, Fulham have one of their most difficult away trips of the season when they travel to the north-west to play the current champions of England, Manchester City. With our form, in the Premier League, in general dropping off, it is a difficult expectation for the side to grab anything this Saturday, but, as they say, football is a funny old game and you just never know!
Rumours of a rift between Martin Jol and John Arne Riise, in midweek; spurned articles relating to the Norwegian exiting Craven Cottage, but, on the back of those rumours Martin Jol has moved quickly to dispel such gossip, remarking ahead of our difficult clash at the Etched Stadium,
'My relationship was fantastic and is probably still OK, it is still good.'
'You know as well as I do that it is the same all the time in England, if a player isn't playing the reason is a bust-up, but I never had a bust-up with any player.'
I guess that the real proof of it all being well is whether Riise appears in the squad tomorrow!
Roberto Mancini is hoping that Sergio Aguero will have recovered from the hamstring injury that he picked up at the turn of the year.
Samir Nasri, who endured a hostile reception from Arsenal fans outside the Emirates Stadium last Sunday, is also available after finishing a suspension.
One notable absentee is Yaya Toure who is on African Cup of Nations duty.
They say all good sides are built from the back and the Belgian international is a fine example of this philosophy!
On the positive side Martin Jol will recall the rested on Wednesday night Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov, for this clash. Also available for selection is fit again Steve Sidwell.
On the negative side, Martin Jol will be without Kerim Frei and Mahamadou Diarra, both of whom are still nursing injuries.
Rested for the FA Cup replay, at Blackpool, the Bulgarian should be raring to go. If anyone can open up a strong Manchester City defence its Dimitar!
Although many don`t give us much of a chance of pulling off a surprise result this Saturday, our recent record at the Etihad Stadium is good. When City comprehensively beat us 3-0 last season, it was the first time they`d beaten us in 5 attempts.
In fact, if you look at the results of our last
But, we arrive in Manchester having managed just 2 wins in our last 14 fixtures and we`ve only kept 1 clean sheet in our last 15 fixtures.
Our officials appointed for this fixture are:- Referee - J. Moss Assistant - S. Burt Assistant - S. Bennett Fourth Official - N. Swarbrick
My heart reckons we can get something from this difficult fixture but my head says no. Our form has dipped at a worrying stage of the season and we desperately need to get back to winning ways but I doubt very much whether the Etched Stadium is a venue we`ll get three points from. Therefore, is the best we can hope for a draw?
After our difficult trip to take on Manchester City, our next challenge is a fixture back in the north-west, this time against City`s local rivals Manchester United in an FA Cup 4th round tie, next weekend.
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Date:Friday January 18 2013
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