FA Cup holders Manchester City will be continuing their journey to retain the title as they take on Championship outfit Fulham at the Etihad on Sunday.
Straight away, it looks like an extreme task for the visitors to progress to the next round considering the gap between the two teams in the English football pyramid. With Manchester City sitting second in the Premier League table, the Londoners currently occupy the same spot in the Championship standings, meaning there are exactly 20 places between the two sides.
Another omen that counts against Scott Parker’s troops are Manchester City’s form in the FA Cup. The Citizens have not lost a home FA Cup match against lower league team since a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough back in 2015. Understandably, Pep Guardiola’s troops are overwhelming favourites to progress to the fifth round at odds of 1/14 with William Hill, whilst Fulham sit at a huge price of 25/1.
One aspect that could expected at the Etihad Stadium between these two sides are goals. No side in the Premier League have found the net with more regularity than Manchester City, whilst there are only four sides in the entire second tier that have scored more than Fulham this season. Between them, the two sides have scored 107 goals in the league at an average of just over two per match. Over 3.5 goals to be scored in this particular match is at 4/6 with Betfair.
Sergio Aguero, who has scored five goals in six career Premier League appearances against Fulham, is likely to be on the scoresheet once again this time. The Argentine forward currently sits at odds of 2/1 with Betfred to open the scoring against the Whites. Meanwhile, after scoring against Manchester City for Cardiff in the League Cup a couple of seasons ago, Bobby Reid is the favourite to open the scoring from the Fulham perspective at a price of 12/1.
Considering that Manchester City are still challenging in all competitions this season, it would be no surprise to see sweeping changes in their team. Fringe players Angelino, Claudio Bravo and Joao Cancelo, amongst others could be afforded opportunities, whilst Benjamin Mendy and John Stones could make their respective returns from injury. However, long-term absentee Leroy Sane remains ruled out.
Elsewhere, the visitors are missing a number of key players, none more so than 18-goal Aleksandar Mitrovic who is out with an ankle injury. He joins fellow forwards Aboubakar Kamara, Neeskens Kebano and Anthony Knockaert on the sidelines. Maxime Le Marchand and Harrison Reed both remain out with respective knocks.