The Rank and Report Football Show are back once again to run you through everything you need to know about Saturday afternoon's opposition - as Pep Guardiola's side host Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.

Scott Parker's side come into the game full of confidence, after an impressive victory over high-flying Leicester, however their recent record against Manchester City is utterly appalling - no wins in their previous 15 clashes with the Blues.

Opposition Report: Fulham

LEAGUE POSITION: 17th
SEASON BREAKDOWN:
2W – 1D – 7L
MANAGER:
Scott Parker
KEY PLAYERS:
Ruben Loftus-Cheek & Ademola Lookman

PREDICTED XI

fulham lineup finished

Season Review

In the 2018/19 Premier League season, Fulham spent big to bring in a host of players who tried and failed to keep them up.

This served as a valuable lesson for newly-promoted sides, demonstrating that splashing out does not guarantee success. Luckily enough for Fulham, they bounced back at the first time of asking, surpassing Brentford in the Championship play-off final last season.

Seemingly unable to learn their lesson however, or perhaps unsure of the quality of their squad, the Cottagers recruited no less than 11 new signings this summer, with six coming in on loan.

The result has been a slow start for Fulham while their new signings bed in. Four points from their first nine games is a poor return for any side, but Scott Parker’s men can count themselves unlucky.

In their previous seven league games they earned just one draw and two wins. The remaining five losses, however, were all by single-goal margins. They could also be one point better off if it wasn’t for Ademola Lookman’s disastrous ‘Panenka’ penalty miss in the 98th minute against West Ham.

(Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite this, Fulham’s most recent result has catapulted them clear of the relegation zone. The stunning 2-1 victory at Leicester’s King Power Stadium was only their second win of the season, made all-the-more surprising by the fact it was their toughest fixture on paper thus far.

The tide could be turning for a rejuvenated Fulham side, who should give Manchester City more to think about than Burnley did last week. 

leicester-city-v-fulham-premier-league

The Fulham Threat

Fulham play attractive, ambitious football under Scott Parker. Occasionally, this gets them caught out at the back, but it also yields plenty of chances.

At left-wing, 23-year-old RB Leipzig loanee Ademola Lookman is pacey, direct and an assured finisher. The equally fast Ivan Cavaleiro will likely play up top after his goal against Leicester so that Fulham can mount effective counterattacks.

Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to start on the opposite flank. The Chelsea loanee is a central midfielder by trade so will be tempted to drift inside where he has the physicality, skill and quality to bypass the City midfield and look for balls in behind.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Of course, what all this means is that if Manchester City set up camp in Fulham’s half, as they have done with so many other teams this campaign, then the Cottagers have all the necessary ingredients to make them pay for their mistakes.

With a considerably higher quality squad, City may fancy themselves to go blow for blow with a gutsy Fulham side and maintain their high defensive line, but as we saw against Leicester… anything can happen.

For all their attacking threat, however, Fulham have far from solved their defensive weaknesses.

The five-at-the-back formation deployed against Leicester gave them added solidity but advancing wing-backs leaves massive spaces out wide. Indeed, City may be licking their lips if Bobby Decordova-Reid, who has spent most of his career as a striker, is again started at right wing-back.

Let us not forget, Fulham travel to the Etihad with the worst defensive record in the league. Scott Parker is a brave manager and this could turn into a game of many goals, but anything other than a victory here for City would be a major shock. 

(Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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