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Fulham preview

I've posted previously about a changing mentality in this City side, whereby if we are to make a genuine attempt at a top six (or higher) position there needs to be an expectation of achieving victory heading into games - in that the three points become a formality rather than something hoped for.

A home game versus Fulham has to be such a game. They are undoubtedly a useful side - which Thursday nights draw against Roma in the Europa League showed - and have the upper hand over us in recent times. Brede Hangeland looks a towering presence at the back, and perhaps more worryingly, a threat from set pieces. They are a hard working unit and capable of creating opportunities, yet I feel lack a real cutting edge in attack for all their industry.

An advantage for ourselves heading into the game is that they have played twice this week already - Monday night against Hull and then in Europe on Thursday, and as we ourselves experienced last season it is difficult to balance both competitions effectively and we should be the fitter, sharper side on Sunday.

Sides who harbour realistic hopes of success do not drop points in these circumstances and recent form evidences our dominance at home, having won the past six and twelve out of thirteen on home soil.

Team wise, we still have doubts over Bellamy and Toure who both missed out against Wigan whilst Pablo Zabaleta serves a one-match suspension. With Bellamy possibly absent, Hughes may well stick to the 4-4-2 we have seen in recent games, although my preference would be to adopt a less rigid 4-3-3 formation which has served us well at home and offers a more fluid and potent attacking threat.

The Carling Cup tie is proof that Fulham (then with a much changed side) are not to be taken lightly but our home form has been nothing short of superb (and as good as anything in the league) of late and I will take us to win by a margin of 3-1.

Game notes:
  • We have gone twenty-six home league games without a draw.
  • We have not dropped points from a leading position so far this season.
  • Fulham have won three of their past four visits to the City of Manchester Stadium.