Man City registered just their third clean sheet in 21 matches last time out at Sheffield Utd, as key centre-back Aymeric Laporte returned to the starting line-up following a lengthy lay-off.
With that match taking place on Tuesday and this fixture not until Sunday, Pep Guardiola will want to have his strongest available team on display given cup tournaments are City’s only route to silverware this season.
However, whether Laporte takes to the field or not for this clash so soon after his comeback isn’t yet clear, with the second leg of their League Cup semi-final tie versus Man Utd on the horizon next Wednesday.
Fulham have been edging closer to the automatic promotion places as West Brom and Leeds have both dropped points in recent weeks, but while a return to the top flight will be their main priority this season, we’d still expect Scott Parker to field his strongest possible team here.
However, he will have to make do without injured star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has scored 18 of their 42 league goals (43%), while the Serb didn’t feature in either of their cup clashes with Aston Villa and Southampton.
Add the potential absentees of other attacking minded players Aboubakar Kamara and Anthony Knockaert, and that’s 24 of those 42 goals (57%) that the Cottagers will have to make do without at the Etihad.
Fulham have only managed one strike in their past two matches since Mitrovic was sidelined, scored by Knockaert, so we’re unconvinced by their prospects going forwards at the sharp end, especially seeing as they’re coming off the back of a goalless stalemate away at Charlton.
Following a drop in standards across November and early January, City have since won 10 of 12 matches, scoring at least twice in all but one of these and three times or more in seven.
However, those lack of clean sheets mean that they’ve only won by at least two clear strikes in eight of these games, and by three or more in just four, and so at the prices they don’t offer good value on the handicap.
Man City To Score In Minutes 16-30
Although City may or may not concede at some point in proceedings, their firepower remains a constant threat and whether or not they ease their foot off the gas, an early goal should be expected.
They’ve scored at least once between the 16th and 30th minutes in six of their last 10 matches since mid-December, while in their five domestic cup matches this term, they’ve netted in that time bracket on all five occasions (19th, 20th, 22nd, 19th and 17th minutes).
Further, City also managed the feat in all three encounters with Fulham last term, registering goals in the 21st, 18th and 27th minutes of those matches.
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