Fulham vs. Manchester City  1 - 2

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Premier League: Fulham 1 Manchester City 2

29 September 2012 18:11

Manchester City took a 2-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage thanks to a late winner from substitute Edin Dzeko.

Fulham went ahead in the ninth minute thanks to a Mladen Petric penalty after John Arne Riise was ruled to have been fouled in the area, but Sergio Aguero levelled the English Premier League clash in the 42nd minute.

The home side continued their hard work from the first half in the second period, but the champions found a winner in the 86th minute through Dzeko.

Both sides began the game confidently, but in the eighth minute Fulham were awarded a penalty when Pablo Zabaleta fouled Riise, with Mark Halsey pointing to the spot despite protests from the visitors that contact occurred outside the area.

Petric stepped up confidently to send Joe Hart the wrong way, giving Fulham a 1-0 lead in just the ninth minute.

Fulham had a glorious chance for a second in the 15th minute, but Petric blazed over after Hugo Rodallega found him.

City piled on the pressure as Aguero headed into the side netting and Carlos Tevez had a penalty shout turned down.

The away side finally found the equalising goal in the 42nd minute, as a cross came into the box that was parried by Mark Schwarzer, and Aguero was there to tap home and level the scores.

City went close early in the second half as Aguero glanced a header wide after a teasing cross from David Silva.

However, chances became few and far between, but substitute Mario Balotelli saw a shot from outside the box go just wide of Schwarzer's post in the 69th minute.

Just three minutes later, Fulham had a chance of their own after some good strength from Rodallega, with Bryan Ruiz hitting a powerful shot that was saved well by Hart.

In the 86th minute, the away side finally got reward for their hard work.

From a good cross, second-half substitute Dzeko turned superbly and powered the ball into the net to give the champions the lead, which they held onto.

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Hart has faith in slow starting City

29 September 2012 06:17

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has backed his team-mates to overturn their stuttering start to the 2012/13 season.

City are without a win from their last four games in all competitions and have failed to keep a clean sheet in any game so far this term.

The England number one bemoaned the Premier League champions' luck at times this season but insisted they have enough quality to maintain a title challenge.

"Sometimes goals go in against you," Hart told The Daily Mirror.

"That's football, isn't it? Things have been falling to people, like the one in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

"Joleon (Lescott) headed it away and he (Laurent Koscielny) smashed it in. That's the way it is. It could have hit the bar and we would have kept a clean sheet.

"So we have to be optimistic. We know we're doing the right things and we're tried and tested.

"I'm being honest when I say that I really don't know (why City are conceding so many goals). We're not doing anything different and the players are very honest."

The 25-year old also reiterated his disappointment over City's defeat at Real Madrid in their opening Champions League tie of the season and has challenged his side to cut out mistakes if they are to taste European success.

"I feel that way everywhere we go, whether that it's the first round of the FA Cup or the Bernabeu," he said.

"You play to win. There's no part of me that's happy how we lost.

"We played bloody well and there were moments we can all look back upon - Yaya (Toure)'s goal, Alex Kolarov putting in that ball nobody could defend - but we lost.

"The margins for error in the Champions League are much thinner. In the Premier League I wouldn't say you can necessarily get away with losing, but you have 38 games.

"In the Champions League you only have six and we've already lost one. I hope the expectations of us in the Champions League are realistic and that we can fulfil them.

"It's really hard, though, especially - I imagine - once you get through to the group stages. Then, it's one mistake and you're done.

"We've got to be ourselves and be what we've been. We've accomplished a lot but there are a lot of hurdles still ahead."

Next up for City is a match away to Fulham in the league on Saturday.

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Mancini: City will win Premier League

28 September 2012 18:15

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is confident his side will defend their Premier League title despite a run of poor form.

City have gone four games without a win, the most recent of which was a defeat to Aston Villa that saw them knocked out of the League Cup.

Mancini's side travel to face Fulham on Saturday looking for a victory to kick-start their title defence.

"Yes we will win, we will win the title," Mancini said.

"There have been some cases where we haven't played well, or teams have played better than us and you are unlucky, this is one of these moments.

"We just need to stay calm and work hard."

Mancini said the late addition of new players and injury problems were to blame for his side's recent performances.

"It's been difficult because we were without 14 players for pre season and we had new players joining on the last day of the transfer market," the Italian said.

"So we need time for them to bed in and for the players who didn't have a pre season.

"It's normal and we expected it."

Mancini believes many of the Premier League sides have improved since last year and marked a challenge towards City to do the same if they want to reclaim their title.

"I think that this year Fulham, Sunderland and Stoke are better teams and every game will be more difficult this year," Mancini said.

"The game in London tomorrow will be a really tough game because they play very well and they improve their team."

City sit in seventh position in the English Premier League standings, four points behind leaders Chelsea.

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Silva: City must lift to stay in title race

28 September 2012 13:52

David Silva says Manchester City must step up their performances soon if they are to retain their English Premier League crown.

City crashed out of the League Cup on Tuesday after suffering a 4-2 extra-time defeat at home to Aston Villa, and have struggled to produce their best football in the league so far.

Silva believes while they are still well in the title fight, the squad must rediscover last season's form to be in with the best chance of silverware.

"The truth is we didn't play good football, we need to improve, like last year when we started very well," he told Cope radio.

"We have to get back to that level and find that we have to work hard to do so as soon as possible.

"We haven't started as everyone wanted, but we're still in the fight for the title. The league has just started, as has the Champions League."

Silva also moved to deny his new five-year deal with the club does not contain a clause which allows either Real Madrid or Barcelona to prise him away from City.

"I renewed my contract because I am happy here. I hope we will continue to improve and fight for more titles," he said.

"At the moment I am thinking about that, not about the future. I am only thinking about continuing to play, enjoy myself and trying to win titles.

"There is no clause in my contract allowing me to leave for Madrid or Barcelona."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25