Fulham v City Barclays Premier League 21 December - Manchester City FC

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  • Fulham

    Fulham  2

    Richardson 49mins, Kompany OG 68mins

  • Manchester City

    City  4

    Toure 23mins, Kompany 42mins, Navas 78mins, Milner 83mins

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  • 21 December 2013 16:55
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
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This cavalry could take some stopping this Christmas.

They may not be this season’s festive number 1 but City are ominously positioned within striking distance of league-leaders Liverpool ahead of the Boxing Day showdown after a dramatic 4-2 win over Fulham.

With the Premier League’s leakiest defence hosting the division’s leading scorers, City were heavy 2/5 favourites with bookmakers to be driving home for Christmas with three points but the great entertainers were made to work for the victory.

A fourth Premier League free-kick of the season from Yaya Toure sent City on their way, before Vincent Kompany stabbed home the second in the dying minutes of the first-half.

It was looking comfortable at that point, but Kieran Richardson replied in the early stages of the second period before a bizarre Kompany own goal pulled the hosts level.

However, Jesus Navas climbed off the bench to rescue all three points with City’s 50th league goal of the season, before James Milner grabbed City’s fourth with seven minutes to go to put the result beyond doubt.

Joe Hart’s first spot in a first XI on a Premier League teamsheet since City’s defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October was the most noteworthy element on Manuel Pellegrini’s line-up.


That was one of three changes from the side responsible for the 6-3 shellacking of Arsenal seven days ago.

Elsewhere, ambidexterity’s’ Gael Clichy was selected at right-back in the absence of the injury-stricken duo, Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards.

Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko came in for Sergio Aguero up front, looking to further improve his record as City’s most prolific player against teams from the capital.

There are few more apt settings in football for a festive sporting occasion than the quaint, Dickensian Craven Cottage on the banks of the River Thames.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, Fulham v City is statistically the cleanest in Premier League history, with their 22 meetings serving up a positively angelic total of zero red cards.

Goodwill to all men, indeed.

"The home side set out their intent with a hard pressing, committed opening to an understandably tense game but the encounter really came alive after 12 minutes when both teams had good opportunities to take the lead within 60 seconds."

...Fulham v City: Match report...

First, Taraabt forced Hart into a superb reflex save with a shot on the turn from the edge of the box, before Dzeko held up the ball and fed in David Silva for an effort on goal which came back off the crossbar with Maarten Stekelenburg beaten.

For the next ten minutes, the game reverted back into its cagey, anxious state until Silva was clipped on the edge of the area by Steve Sidwell, giving the Blues a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Aleksandar Kolarov and Yaya Toure's committee seemed to take an age to debate the angles and the best course of action as they stood over the dead ball but it seems, no matter how City approach these set pieces this season, a free-kick is tantamount to a penalty.


Eventually, it was the Ivorian who assumed responsibility and it was possibly the best in his growing portfolio of incredible free-kicks as his effort arced over the wall and clipped the underside of the crossbar on its route into the back of the net.

"His 11th goal of the season and the 30-year old’s fourth direct set-piece in his Premier League career – all of them in this 2013/14 season."

...Fulham v City: Match report...

After two presentable opportunities for Dzeko were spurned, the away side did finally manage to set up a two-goal cushion and it was another dead ball that helped to unpick the shackles of the Cottagers’ defence.

Silva’s drifted free-kick to the back post found Martin Demichelis who headed it back into the danger zone for Kompany to stab home his first goal of the season into the top corner.


Buoyed by that goal on the stroke of half-time, the Blues piled on the pressure in the early minutes of the second period and nearly raced into an unassailable lead when Kolarov crossed for Silva but the Spaniard’s sliding finish was just reached by the goalkeeper.

However, it was the hosts who grabbed the game’s third goal on 49 minutes courtesy of a rapid counter-attack spearheaded by the dangerous Taraabt who got down the left wing and crossed to Kieran Richardson at the back post, leaving the Englishman with the simplest of tap-ins.

That goal meant that Hart has still yet to keep a clean sheet at Craven Cottage in five attempts, and City have not prevented the opposition from scoring in seven consecutive away games, though there was nothing England’s no.1 could do to keep out the close range finish.

Pellegrini acted with the hour mark approaching, bringing on Jesus Navas for Dzeko and slotting Nasri in behind Negredo to add an extra man to the midfield.

"Within seconds of his introduction, Navas had the opportunity to re-establish City’s two-goal winning margin but his sidefooted finish was a yard past Stekelenburg’s near post."

...Fulham v City: Match report...

Fulham drew level in bizarre circumstances with just over 20 minutes to play when Kompany mistimed his clearance from Riether’s cross and the ball span up off his foot and over Hart into the far corner.

Milner was introduced with 15 minutes but it was his fellow substitute who came up with the priceless third goal to put City back in front and to finally put the home side on the canvas.

Jesus scampered down the right flank to receive Silva’s intricate through ball and, just when it looked like the Spaniard had taken it too wide, he pulled the trigger and fired the ball through Stekeleburg’s legs.

It got even better for the Blues a few minutes later when Milner arrived onto Alvaro Negredo’s outrageous outside-of-the-boot cross and clipped a measured first-time finish past the goalkeeper.


It’s been said by many experts that if City could sort out their away form, they might not be denied their second title in three years.

Whisper it quietly, but the Blues now won four of their last five on the road in all competitions and, at the time of writing, are second in the table.

Can we skip Christmas Day and go straight to Boxing Day now?

Match details

Saturday 21 December 2013, 3:00PM

Craven Cottage Att:25,509
Barclays Premier League

Kevin Friend



Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos (Amorebieta 37mins), Hughes, Riise, Dejagah (Kasami 63mins), Karagounis (Bent 82mins), Parker, Sidwell, Richardson, Taarabt

Unused subs:
Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Stockdale, Duff

Karagounis 59mins

Manchester City:

Hart, Clichy, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri (Milner 75mins), Silva (Garcia 83mins), Negredo, Dzeko (Navas 57mins)

Unused subs:
Pantilimon, Boyata, Rodwell, Guidetti

Demichelis 45mins

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.
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