Manchester City's FA Cup defence continues at home to Championship high-flyers Fulham at the Etihad.
Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Key Stat: Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 14 matches against Fulham in all competitions, including winning the last eight in a row.
Expert Verdict: Pep Guardiola's side may have faltered in their Premier League title defence, having won the last two titles and amassed a combined 198 points in the process, but they remain on track in the cups. Fulham are next up in the FA Cup and it would be a huge shock if the Championship side - regardless of their own league form - were to pull off an upset.
Phil Foden and Taylor Harwood-Bellis both started and scored in the previous round and the two City-supporting Academy graduates could be involved again. Aymeric Laporte returned from injury last time out but it seems unlikely he will be risked so soon after his return. If Harwood-Bellis’ injury, picked up in the FA Youth Cup, keeps him out, it will be Eric Garcia starting at the back. Claudio Bravo is set to play in goal.
Gabriel Jesus – Missed a penalty against Sheffield United last weekend and the Brazilian will feel he has a point to prove up front.
Phil Foden – The teenager keeps seizing his opportunities when they arrive, and the teenager scored and impressed in the third round.
Claudio Bravo – Much-maligned in goal, but the Chilean international knows the domestic cups are his chance to prove his worth to City fans.
Manchester City have won six of their last seven matches, but dropped further points in the league when they drew at home to Crystal Palace, despite Sergio Aguero’s two late goals having put them in front. He scored again, off the bench, in mid-week, however, as City bounced back with a narrow win against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Defenders:Joao Cancelo, Eric Garcia, Nicolas Otamendi, Angelino
Midfielders:Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Phil Foden
Forwards:Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez
The absence of injured duo Aleksandar Mitrovic and Anthony Knockaert was keenly felt in mid-week as Fulham drew a blank at Charlton Athletic. Bobby Reid led the line instead, and he could continue there against City.
Ivan Cavaleiro – Scored twice since the turn of the year to prove why Fulham opted to turn his loan deal into a permanent transfer.
Harry Arter – Scored the winner at home to Aston Villa in the last round just minutes into his comeback from injury.
Bobby Reid – With Mitrovic out, and if Knockaert misses out too, the Cardiff loanee – who scored for Bristol City against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in 2018 – will need to lead the line.
Fulham are unbeaten since their 2-1 defeat at home to Reading on New Year’s Day, in which Ivan Cavaleiro scored the hosts’ goal. They beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup thanks to Harry Arter’s winner, before Cavaleiro and then Anthony Knockaert scored the only goals in wins against Hull and Middlesbrough. They drew a blank in mid-week, however – a goalless draw at Charlton.
Defenders: Denis Odoi, Michael Hector, Tim Ream, Joe Bryan
Midfielders:Tom Cairney, Kevin McDonald, Harry Arter
Forwards:Josh Onomah, Ivan Cavaleiro, Bobby Reid
Manchester City have won their last eight matches against Fulham and are unbeaten in their last 14 in all competitions. That includes three wins last season, all without conceding a goal. In the Premier League, Leroy Sane, David Silva and Raheem Sterling scored in a 3-0 home win and Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero netted in a 2-0 triumph at Craven Cottage. In between, Brahim Diaz’s double earned City a 2-0 home win in the Carabao Cup. Pep Guardiola’s side, of course, went on to win both competitions as well as the FA Cup.
More dropped points against Crystal Palace and then a narrow win at Sheffield United were hardly Manchester City at their best.
Pep Guardiola’s side, however, remain in the hunt for more success in the domestic cups and will want to add another FA Cup run to that too.
They beat Port Vale in the third round, winning 4-1 at home, and now face Fulham – a team they have beaten in their last eight consecutive meetings.
Phil Foden will come into the team once again and the English teenager continues to deliver on expectations in midfield.
Add whichever attacking combination of players Pep Guardiola opts for to that, though he will have one eye on Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg, and you have a formidable prospect once again.
Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva could be among the starting players, and they will be a handful for the likes of Tim Ream to deal with.
Fulham’s own attack is light at the moment, with Aleksandar Mitrovic sidelined and Anthony Knockaert – man of the match against City in the semi-final of this competition last season – also missing in mid-week.
They have scored two goals in their last three matches in total, though they have not conceded in that time.
The key then will be how City break down the Fulham backline – do it early, and the tie is theirs. Fulham’s best hope will be frustrating City.
Manchester City are favourites to beat Fulham at home, unsurprisingly, and they can be backed at 1/10 with 888sport, Betway, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Bet365.
Fulham have lacked goals in Aleksandar Mitrovic’s absence and you can bet against both teams to score at a best price of 20/23 with Betfair.
City to win to nil, meanwhile, is 5/6 with Bet365 and 888sport.
At the other end, Sergio Aguero is 2/5 with Betfair, Bet365, Paddy Power and 888sport to score at any time. If he does not start, it will be Gabriel Jesus, who can be backed at 13/20 with 888sport.
Manchester City’s league form has stuttered once more but they remain on course in the domestic cups and it would be a huge shock if this was not a comfortable home win.