Recharged City resume assault on three fronts

LONDON • Manchester City's potential run of 15 games to a historic quadruple gets off to a gentle start at Championship-bound Fulham today.

While Pep Guardiola has been keen to quieten any talk of a clean sweep of silverware with a testing two months to come should they continue to progress on all fronts, the bookmakers have installed them as favourites to not only retain their English Premier League title, but also to lift both the Champions League and the FA Cup.

A run of 19 wins in their last 20 games in all competitions has kept City on course for the unprecedented feat and the two-week international break may have come at a perfect time to recharge their batteries.

Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Fernandinho did not traipse the globe with Argentina, Spain and Brazil respectively while Aymeric Laporte was not called up to the France squad.

Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Fabian Delph and Benjamin Mendy were all given more time to recover from injuries.

Key players like Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva have also returned to club duty unscathed, while Raheem Sterling will be expected to carry on at Craven Cottage where he left off with England.

FIGHTING A LOST CAUSE

We can put all of the scenarios in place and understand how they're set up, but you're still up against it because they're that good.

SCOTT PARKER, interim Fulham manager, on the Herculean task facing his relegation-threatened side as they take on mighty Manchester City.

After scoring four times in their thrashings of the Czech Republic and Montenegro, the City forward was said to be "in a really confident moment, not only on the field, but off the field" by England manager Gareth Southgate.

That does not bode well for a creaking Fulham defence that has shipped 70 goals - the most by any top-flight side this season.

The Cottagers are also 13 points adrift of safety with seven league games left and interim manager Scott Parker is under no illusions as to "the challenge ahead".

The former Spurs midfielder said: "(City) are fantastic players and a fantastic team, along with a manager who's arguably going to go down as one of the greatest.

"We can put all of the scenarios in place and understand how they're set up, but you're still up against it because they're that good."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

FULHAM V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Recharged City resume assault on three fronts'. Print Edition | Subscribe