(live @ Sky Sport 3/Calcio 2)
City of Manchester Stadium
Having not tasted defeat in their opening 14 games of the Barclays Premier League campaign, Manchester City are going through what could be described as a mini-crisis with three defeats in their last nine games. City's 1-0 defeat away to bogey side Everton on Tuesday night opened up the title race as it allowed neighbours United to draw level at the top of the table following their win against Stoke. However, they are simply irresistible at home, having won all 11 of their outings there. Fulham will look to overturn City’s 100 per cent home Barclays Premier League record in the knowledge that the Etihad Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for them in recent years. The Cottagers have not tasted defeat at Eastlands since a 3-1 defeat in 2006, courtesy of a Bernado Corradi brace and a Joey Barton strike as Stuart Pearce looked on from the home dugout. Since then they are unbeaten in four outings against the Citizens, with two wins and two draws. No side has won fewer games on the road than Martin Jol’s side, though the Londoners have drawn two of their last three away from Craven Cottage.
• Manchester City have won their last 16 Premier League home matches since drawing 1-1 at home to Fulham in February 2011.
• Manager Martin Jol is unbeaten in all seven previous Premier League meetings against Manchester City, winning all six with Tottenham before drawing with them earlier this season.
Manchester City are again without Mario Balotelli, who is serving a suspension. Kolo Toure and brother Yaya Toure are still at the Africa Cup of Nations but playmaker David Pizarro, signed on loan from Roma this week, is unlikely to start. Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards are expected to overcome minor knocks. This means that Manchester City will go into the game with a similar looking squad to the one that travelled to Everton in midweek.
Moussa Dembele is available for Fulham after missing the last three games with a hip injury. The Belgium international could take over up front after in-form midfielder Clint Dempsey played further forward against West Brom, especially with Andrew Johnson and Orlando Sa sidelined. Johnson is out for another week with a groin injury and will be joined in the treatment room by Steve Sidwell. The central midfielder will be out for up to six weeks because of a stomach injury he sustained against the Baggies. Pavel Pogrbynak will not feature as he awaits international clearance.
Possible starting XIs:
J Hart • M Richards, V Kompany, J Lescott, G Clichy • J Milner, G Barry • D Silva, S Aguero, S Nasri • E Dzeko
D Stockdale • S Kelly, P Senderos, B Hangeland, JA Riise • B Ruiz, D Etuhu (or C Baird), D Muprhy, D Duff • C Dempsey • M Dembele