Manchester City vs. Fulham: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 22, 2014

Steve Sidwell's battling qualities will be required for Fulham.
Steve Sidwell's battling qualities will be required for Fulham.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Manchester City host rock-bottom Fulham in a Premier League fixture at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday that could have implications at both ends of the table.

Slowly but surely, Felix Magath's side are slipping into the relegation abyss, and a much-needed win will certainly go a long way to restoring confidence for the final run-in.

Such a reverse would hurt Manuel Pellegrini's side, who remain six points behind top-of-the-table Chelsea but, importantly, still have three games in hand over Jose Mourinho's side.

With no losses to the London side in the last 10 games in all competitions, per 11v11, the form guide certainly favours the home team.


Date: Saturday, March 22

Time: 3 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET

Live Stream/TV Info: NBC Premier League Extra Time/NBC Live Extra (US only)


Key Storylines

Joleon Lescott will take the place of absent captain Vincent Kompany.
Joleon Lescott will take the place of absent captain Vincent Kompany.Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Despite recent losses in the Champions League to Barcelona and in the FA Cup to Wigan Athletic, Manchester City have only lost once in the Premier League, to Chelsea, since the beginning of November per WhoScored.

It's a remarkable run of form that still gives the Citizens a great chance of being in the title mix come the final run-in.

With their towering captain Vincent Kompany unavailable for this one after his sending-off at Hull, Joleon Lescott is likely to partner Martin Demichelis in the centre of defence.

Both are susceptible to pace and direct running whilst being aerially dominant, so clearly Fulham can profit from the balls played through on the floor rather than crosses into the box. 

Lewis Hotlby will need to have a lot more fighting spirit than he showed against Chelsea. According to Neil McLeman of the Daily Mirror, manager Felix Magath has been disappointed with his fellow German's application:

We are not in a normal situation. I can only repeat that now is not the time to play very well, now is the time to fight. Holtby is not a fighter.

He is very smart, skillful, offensive player with very good passes.

In order to please his manager, an amalgam of the two might just be what the doctor ordered because their hosts certainly have enough about them to be up for any rough-house tactics.

Scott Parker, who is certainly noted for his combative spirit, will be sorely missed through injury.

It means that Steve Sidwell will be tasked with curtailing the twin threat of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, both of whom have engines that can tick over all game long.

Yaya Toure brings a significant goal threat from midfield.
Yaya Toure brings a significant goal threat from midfield.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Toure also brings with him a significant goal threat from the centre of the park. Per WhoScored, the Ivorian has 13 goals and five assists in 26 appearances, including this beauty in the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland:

Should the variety of City's attacking options breach the hard-working Fulham midfield, then much will fall on to the shoulders of Brede Hangeland.

When fit, the Cottagers' central defensive powerhouse has once again been a shining light in a disappointing season for the West Londoners.

Whether Manuel Pellegrini plumps for the in-form Edin Dzeko or the more robust Alvaro Negredo to lead his line, Hangeland should be more than up to the task.

Per Squawka, he has won over 60 percent of his headed duels and has an 83 percent success rate in bringing the ball out from the back.

Magath's battle cry is commendable given the position of his team, but in truth Fulham haven't been able to turn around their disastrous early-season form under Martin Jol and then Rene Meulensteen.

Trying to play expansive football against a team that are patently one of the best exponents in the league at present will see Fulham get picked off easily.

But trying to keep compact in the hope you can see out the 90 minutes will also hurt the away side.