Manchester City vs Fulham | Saturday 5th December 2020, 15:00 | BT Sport
Manchester City play their first match against a promoted side this season as they welcome Fulham to The Etihad. Fulham got their first away win of the season in the Premier League on Monday night when they won at Leicester, and a thoroughly deserved three points it has to be said.
Scott Parker got his tactics spot on at the King Power. Fulham were disciplined and sat in a deep defensive shape and destroyed Leicester on the counter-attack. They went into a back five when not in possession and it worked to a tee.
One man whose defensive discipline came as a surprise was Bobby Decordova-Reid’s. He virtually played as a right-wing back, just on the outside of Ola Aina. He racked up five successful tackles from as many attempted, the most on the pitch in the East Midlands. If he plays in the same position again, similar numbers may occur in the tackles market, with the likes of Phil Foden or Raheem Sterling to deal with.
Ivan Cavaleiro started in the false nine position, and he, along with Ademola Lookman were blistering when the ball dropped to them. It would be brave of Parker to change the winning formula, despite playing one of the big guns.
The counter-attack was evident in Fulham’s first goal as Lookman made a great run in behind the sluggish Leicester defence. He could cause City all sorts of problems on the break and I was surprised at his shot prices with Betfair/Paddy Power.
Since Lookman came into the side when they visited Sheffield United in October, he has started all six games since, with his shot stats reading: 3, 6, 3, 2, 1 and 4. He has had two or more shots in 5/6 starts including four on Monday. He is 7/4 to have two or more shots which has got to be worth betting on. Three or more, which he has accrued in 4/6, is an 11/2 shot. These prices are massive compared to Sky Bet and William Hill.
Lookman has also had a shot on target in all but one start, and that is 11/5 with Betfair, which also worth playing. I am aware that City only average 9.3 shots against at home, but these prices are too god to turn down. Even Burnley, who are 19th for shots average, managed 9 shots with Ashley Barnes having three.
Against promoted sides last season, City had a record of W5 L1, and an aggregate score of 21-6. They scored on average 3.5 goals a game, but there would be no value in backing city to bag three or more here.
Instead, the bet for me is City to win and Under 4.5 Goals at 3/4 with Betway. I do fancy City to win without reply here as they will likely dominate but for extra insurance take the Under 4.5. City have only conceded three goals in their last 11 matches in all competitions. The Whites look relatively solid at the back on Monday and I can’t see them shipping more than four, even if it is against The Citizens.
One man who has impressed for The Cottagers this season is Cameroonian central midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who was expectational on Monday at Leicester. He is such a powerful player and provided a moment of quality with his weight of pass to set up the opener from Ademola Lookman. He had the most passes on the pitch for Fulham, completing 87% of his 39 passes.
Anguissa impressed in France for Marseille and Fulham look to have themselves a great player. He is priced at 80/1 to be the WhoScored Man of the Match with Paddy Power, and I’ll have some pennies on that. He is the second highest average performer on WhoScored in Fulham’s ranks. It’s unlikely a Fulham player will win it when playing City, but why not, eh?
City and Under 4.5 Goals will be my main bet and if it wins, it will cover the more speculative punts.
Manchester City vs Fulham – Manchester City to win and Under 4.5 Goals (3/4 Betway)
Manchester City vs Fulham – Ademola Lookman to have 2+ Shots (7/4 Betfair)
Manchester City vs Fulham – Ademola Lookman 1+ Shot-on-Target (11/5 Betfair)
Manchester City vs Fulham – Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to be WhoScored Man of the Match (80/1 Paddy Power)