Manchester City gets back to first-team action this weekend as they take on Championship opposition in Fulham. It’ll be an unfamiliar feeling for the Citizens as they will take to the pitch on the back of a 1-1 draw with Southampton FC in the Premier League.
This fourth-round FA Cup tie pits the side sitting on top of the Premier League, Manchester City, against the team that sits atop the Championship, Fulham.
Championship leaders, Fulham found themselves in the news on transfer deadline day as Liverpool tried to agree on a deal for their teenage sensation, Fabio Carvalho. Although a deal was struck, they did not strike it in time for the closing of the January transfer window.
The Cottagers have also been in the news for their goal-scoring exploits lately. They have scored a whopping 23 goals in their first five games of the 2022 calendar year.
Despite Fulham’s goal-scoring pedigree, it would still be a shock if Pep Guardiola’s men don’t rise to the occasion and win their way through to the fifth round of the oldest football cup competition on the planet.
Manchester City vs Fulham FYIs
Starting XI Prediction: go here
When is it? Kick-off time? 3 PM, Saturday 5th February 2022
Where is it? Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Who’s in form? Man City (WWWWD) Fulham (WWWWD)
What are the odds? Man City (-650) Fulham (+1500) Draw (+800)
Premier League Podcast Listen here
Now that we have all of our ducks in a row, let’s have a look at the team news for the runaway Premier League leaders.
Ukrainian utility player Oleksandr Zinchenko will almost certainly miss out here. He is still struggling with the knock he picked up in the buildup to the Chelsea fixture back in the middle of January.
USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen failed to play a single minute for his national team during the international break.
The back complaint that kept him out of the USA’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers threatens to prevent him from making a rare start for the Sky Blues.
The goalkeeping situation could be potentially problematic for City. Usual number one Ederson, along with his compatriot Gabriel Jesus, is expected to be a late return from international duty with Brazil. Their participation will be touch and go right until kick-off.
If Ederson and Zack Steffen cannot play, it opens the door for veteran ‘keeper Scott Carson to make a rare first-team appearance, adding to his one Premier League appearance he has made since joining the reigning champs back in 2019.
Academy product and fringe squad member Cole Palmer will hope to shake off a minor injury in order to make a rare start as well.
My prediction is there will be goals. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Marco Silva’s Fulham side could win this, but City rarely delivers two poor results in a row. With that in mind, I have to lean toward a City victory. 3-2.Follow paulmbanks