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Ailing City bid to steal march on rivals

02 February 2012, 17:17

London - Having had their lead wiped out in midweek Manchester City have the chance to steal a march on their Premier League title rivals when they host Fulham on Saturday.

A surprise 1-0 defeat by Everton combined with Manchester United's 2-0 victory over Stoke City left both clubs on 54 points, five ahead of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

However, this weekend's fixtures offer some comfort for City whose start to 2012 has been anything but impressive.

United face Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, where they have not won for 10 years, while Tottenham visit Anfield on Monday for a tough-looking match against a Liverpool side buoyed by the return of Luis Suarez from an eight-match ban.

City, badly missing the midfield authority of Yaya Toure who is still away on African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast, have won all 11 home league games this season while Fulham have managed just one victory on the road.

It all points to Roberto Mancini's side opening a three-point gap, at least for 24 hours, but as United boss Alex Ferguson is never slow to point out, victories in the run-in can never be taken for granted, whoever the opposition.

"Maybe I thought before the game maybe it was easier," Mancini said after the defeat at Goodison Park. "I don't want to do the same mistake next Saturday. I'm disappointed for my mistake."

Mancini has David Pizarro available for the Fulham game after signing the Chile midfielder from AS Roma on loan.  


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