|English Premier League: City seek end to winless run at Fulham|
29 September 2012
MANCHESTER: Manchester City visit Fulham today, desperate to end a run of four games without a win and rediscover the defensive qualities that helped them win the Premier League last season.
Roberto Mancini’s team have conceded 16 goals in their opening eight league and cup games this term and visit in-form Fulham in the midst of a run that has seen them secure league draws against Stoke and Arsenal, while recording defeats in cup competitions against Real Madrid and Aston Villa. In the league, the champions are undefeated but a lack of clean sheets has seen them win just two of their five Premier League games to date.
“If you want to win the Premier League, you have to be able to keep clean sheets,” said City defender Kolo Toure. “We haven’t been able to do that as a team and we need to work on that with the manager, definitely.”
The opening to City’s campaign has also featured numerous changes to personnel, tactics and formations by Mancini as he has attempted to find a winning formula, although Toure insisted the lack of continuity has had no ill effect on the side.
“We leave the manager to make his decision. He is the boss and he does what he thinks is best for the team. We are professional players and we just need to adapt to what he is doing.”
Worries for United ahead of Spurs match
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to recall Wayne Rooney to the league when Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford.
But defensive worries will concern the veteran manager. The Scot spoke only last week of his desperate wish that his three remaining fit senior central defenders – Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic – could remain free of injury and avoid joining long-term absentees Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the Old Trafford treatment room.
However, within days, Ferguson had lost Vidic for around eight weeks after tightness in his knee and means that second-placed United now have three of their five senior centre-halves out with long-term problems.
On the other hand, Andre Villas-Boas has vowed to attack second-placed United as he did last season with Chelsea.
“That is the way I like my teams to play,” said the Tottenham manager. “We obviously know that it is extremely difficult over there, but that doesn’t mean that you might not be given a chance.”
In other matches, Chelsea will try to cement their position at the top by winning at London rivals Arsenal. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew takes his side to bottom of the table Reading, while other matches will see high-flyers Everton at home to Southampton.
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