Predicted Manchester City XI to play Fulham - Kolarov and Dzeko to come in

Match to be played on Saturday 21st December 2013 at 15:00. Venue: Craven Cottage, London.

Manchester City will b confident away at Fulham this weekend despite the likely absence of key leader and experienced defender Pablo Zabaleta and star striker Sergio Aguero.

Zabaleta pulled up with a hamstring problem against Leicester City in the League Cup during the week, which means Manuel Pellegrini has a headache over who to slot in on the right of his back four for the game if the Argentine doesn’t make it.

City can move level on points with current Premier League leaders, who they beat last weekend, if they win against Fulham.

Here’s the side that Pellegrini could go with.

GK – Costel Pantilimon

The 26-year-old continues to keep Joe Hart out of the Premier League side. His size gives him a very commanding presence around the penalty area and it will be interesting to see if Fulham can put him under some pressure.

RB – Aleksandar Kolarov

Pellegrini could ask Kolarov to play out of position in the absence of Zabaleta and Micah Richards. He’s certainly good enough to temporarily fill in on the right of defence despite the fact he’s a left sided player.

CB – Vincent Kompany

If Zabaleta can’t perform a miracle and be fit to face Fulham, Kompany has to play in his natural position as right centre back. He’ll be crucial covering down the right if there is space on that side of the defence.

CB – Martin Demichelis

Demichelis seems to have settled into the pace of the Premier League at last. He’s a very confident and bullish defender and that’s just what City need at the moment as they look to wrestle back the Premier League lead.

LB – Gael Clichy

Clichy has the pace to get up and down the left hand side regularly. He should be confident of having a good game against Fulham and will be important providing extra width on his side.

RM – Samir Nasri

Nasri will start on the right but he won’t always stay there. He’s a very good player when it comes to cutting inside onto his stronger left foot. It will be interesting to see how he plays if Zabaleta isn’t fit.

CM – Yaya Toure

Toure should slot into central midfield in his natural position. He’ll get forward, he’ll drop off and he’ll generally be very difficult for Fulham to pick up and mark throughout the match.

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CM – Fernandinho

Fernandinho will be very confident following his performance against Arsenal. He’s finally adding goals to his game and similarly to Toure, he won’t restrict himself with a set role.

LM – David Silva

Silva will provide an element of control in midfield, coming in from the left hand side. He’ll play centrally when Clichy can get forward and stay forward. He can setup a chance in a second.

ST – Edin Dzeko

Dzeko has to start in the absence of Aguero based on current form. The Bosnian is hitting the back of the net but it will be interesting to see what sort of role he plays alongside Negredo, as the Spaniard likes to push the defence back.

ST – Alvaro Negredo

Negredo will have to rotate well with Dzeko because they are both strikers who prefer to play on the shoulder of the defence rather than in front of a back four. Fortunately for City, Negredo is good enough to drop into the gap between midfield and attack.

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