Preview of Manchester City vs Fulham

Alex Livesey

Five keys for Manchester City for the match against Fulham.

Keys for Man City

- Get all 3 Points at Home. Unfortunately, our home record against Fulham hasn't been that good since Manchester City got promoted back into the Premier League. Out of the last 9 fixtures at home, City have won 2, drawn 4, and lost 3. That's 17 dropped points at home to a team that hasn't finished better than 7th in that time frame. Before the 3-0 win last season, City hadn't beaten Fulham at home since the 2006-2007 season.

- Squad Selection. What squad will be available to play? Sergio Aguero is marked as able to return, but will he play on Saturday, or will Roberto Mancini stick with the hot foot of Edin Dzeko, paired with Tevez? Will Kolarov get a look into the starting XI? Does Mancini try to salvage Mario Balotelli's reputation by playing him in a game where he should score? I hope to see a lineup of Dzeko, Tevez, David Silva, Milner, Barry, Garcia, Clichy, Nastasic, Kompany, and Zabaleta.

- Link Well From the Midfield. City played well against Arsenal, as Silva, James Milner, and Gareth Barry all combined well, blending in with Tevez and Dzeko to provide dangerous movement and passes into good areas. If they continue that same run of form, I think that they'll pick apart a Fulham defense that has been poor this season. The key right now is whether or not Garcia can do a serviceable job filling in for Yaya until the ACN is over.

- Isolate Berbatov. Dimitar Berbatov started out the season red hot. He scored 5 goals in the first 7 games, scoring a goal every 5 shots (20%; 5 goals on 24 shots). Since then, he has only scored 2 goals in the last 11 games. His shot conversion rate has plummeted, to 8% (2 goals on 25 shots). In some of the recent games, he hasn't even had a single shot, much less a shot on target. In recent games, it seems that he can't get any good link up play in the final third, and becomes frustrated. I wish there was a stat for "Number of Times Berbatov Rolls His Eyes At a Teammate." If Vincent Kompany can help keep the defense organized, Berbatov can be entirely removed from a game.

- Score in Bunches. Fulham have had one of the poorest defenses in the Premier League this season. The only teams that are really ahead in goals allowed are Aston Villa and Reading, and they're locked in a race to the Championship next season. They've allowed almost 30% more goals this season than they did last season. (38 goals through 22 games, 51 through 38). This is a team we should score against. A lot. If Liverpool can score 4, and West Ham 3, I hope that we can score at least 3 in this match.

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