Manchester City-Fulham Preview
Scott Parker's efforts at Fulham have garnered praise this season, and Pep Guardiola is a big fan of how the Cottagers boss has stuck to his principles.
A 1-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday lifted Fulham onto 26 points heading into their clash with the champions elect – they are level with Brighton and Hove Albion and just one behind Newcastle United in the scrap to stay up.
Fulham looked down and out after a dismal start to the campaign, but their positive style of play has started to pay dividends, and Guardiola is full of admiration for Parker standing by his philosophy.
"It's the ones I admire the most. They're doing this in the beginning and it's not going well, they continue to do it and in the end the results come," Guardiola said.
"Both teams want to attack, create, not just speculate, not wait for one mistake or wait for one action. I have a feeling the new generation of managers, all of them have this quality. Just take a look in Spain, Germany, Italy. All the new managers, they play like they are managers of Bayern Munich. So go forward and try to do it. Sometimes they can do it."
Parker, for his part, is heading into Saturday's contest without any fear.
"Do I believe we can win the game? Did I believe we could beat Liverpool away? Yes, I did honestly believe that, and that comes not just from my belief," he said. "That comes from what I'm seeing. If I didn't see that on the training field, if I didn't see a work ethic, if I didn't see an endeavour, if I didn't see a group of players who have showed quality during some times that have been tough this season and put their hands up and faced up, then I wouldn't have that belief."
Fulham – Joachim Andersen
On-loan defender Andersen put in a supreme performance at Anfield, making some vital interventions late on as Fulham held on for a victory, and the Danish centre-back will have to be similarly proficient if the Cottagers are to clinch a result on Saturday.
Manchester City – Raheem Sterling
In a run going back to April 2018, Sterling has been involved in 16 goals in 16 Premier League starts in London (10 goals, six assists), netting the winner against Arsenal in the Citizens' last game in the capital.
• City's Phil Foden has been involved in six goals in his six away starts in the Premier League this season, scoring four and assisting two.
• Fulham have scored a league-low eight home goals in the Premier League this season. However, they've also conceded just 18 at home so far, with Craven Cottage being the lowest scoring ground in the Premier League in 2020-21 (26 goals).
• City have won their last seven Premier League away games by an aggregate score of 19-3. Indeed, the Citizens have lost just once on the road in the Premier League all season (W9 D3).
• Fulham have won three of their last six Premier League games (D2 L1), more than they had in their previous 24 in the competition (W2 D9 L13). The Cottagers have also kept five clean sheets in their last seven league games, one more than in their first 21 this term.
• City have won their last six meetings with Fulham in all competitions by an aggregate score of 18-0. Only against Wigan Athletic (seven between 2010-2013) have they had a longer winning run without conceding a single goal.
Updated March 12, 2021