Manchester City boast the Premier League’s only perfect record ahead of Matchday 4. Could Fulham cause an almighty shock at the Etihad Stadium? We look ahead to Saturday’s contest with our Manchester City vs Fulham prediction and preview.

Manchester City vs Fulham: Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer expects Manchester City to maintain their perfect start to the season on Saturday, giving them a 71.8% chance of victory over Fulham.
  • Manchester City have won their last 14 matches against Fulham, winning the last nine at the Etihad Stadium by an aggregate score of 27-2.
  • Erling Haaland hasn’t scored in his last three home league games for Manchester City, his longest goal drought at the Etihad since joining from Borussia Dortmund.

Match Preview

It was a case of no Pep Guardiola, (just about) no problem for Manchester City last week as they made it three wins from three Premier League games at Sheffield United, and the champions will be confident of maintaining their perfect start when Fulham visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Assistant Juanma Lillo took charge as Guardiola recovers from back surgery, and goals from Erling Haaland and Rodri guided Man City to a 2-1 victory. They now have the chance to win their first four matches of a Premier League campaign for the eighth time, though they have only gone on to win the title on one of the seven previous occasions – in 2011-12 under Roberto Mancini.

For three tense minutes last Sunday, City looked set to drop two valuable points after Jayden Bogle had equalised for Sheffield United, but as in June’s UEFA Champions League final against Inter, Rodri popped up with a decisive goal. The Spaniard has already matched his tally of two league goals from 2022-23, while City have won their last 15 top-flight games in which he has scored.

In truth, it should have been more comfortable. The champions recorded 23 shots before facing one in Sheffield – the joint-longest run of consecutive attempts by an away team in a Premier League game since Opta records began in 2006-07.

Sheffield United vs Manchester City stats

Newly crowned 2022-23 PFA Player of the Year, Haaland even missed a Premier League penalty for the first time, and Fulham should not expect that kind of profligacy to continue. The Norwegian is looking to end his longest run of home league games without a goal (three) since arriving in Manchester.

While Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones remain sidelined, Jérémy Doku could make his City debut following his £55.5 million move from Rennes. Julián Álvarez will likely support Haaland, having created 12 chances in the Premier League this season, a tally only bettered by Pascal Groß (14). Deadline-day signing Matheus Nunes has probably joined too late to be involved here.

Fulham, meanwhile, have been buoyed by two recent positive results: a 2-2 draw at Arsenal last Saturday before eliminating Tottenham from the EFL Cup via a penalty shootout on Tuesday.

João Palhinha’s late equaliser earned Fulham their point at Arsenal, with Marco Silva’s men fighting back from 2-1 down despite Calvin Bassey’s sending off. They have already collected more Premier League red cards this term (two) than they did last season (one).

Tim Ream is the other Fulham player to see red this season (against Brentford), and he could replace Bassey in their lineup after serving a one-match ban. Timothy Castagne is in contention after joining from Leicester City, while Silva has a decision to make up front, with Raúl Jiménez yet to score since arriving from Wolves.

Silva has not enjoyed his previous meetings with Man City, losing all eight of his Premier League games against them while in charge of Hull City, Watford, Everton and Fulham. It would be a huge surprise to see that run end on Saturday.

Manchester City vs Fulham Head-to-Head

Unsurprisingly, Man City have been completely dominant in recent meetings with Fulham, winning their last 14 games against them. In the history of England’s top four tiers, only City themselves have enjoyed a longer winning run against a specific opponent, recording 15 consecutive wins against Watford.

Fulham’s record at the Etihad is equally dire. Since winning on successive trips there in April 2008 and April 2009, they have failed to win in 12 visits, suffering 10 defeats. City have won their last nine home matches against Fulham by an aggregate score of 27-2.

Silva’s team did run the champions close last season, however, losing both Premier League fixtures against them by a 2-1 scoreline. City needed a 95th-minute penalty from Haaland to win this exact fixture last November, a game in which João Cancelo was sent off.

Álvarez was the hero when the teams met at Craven Cottage in April, when his long-range winner helped City inch ahead of Arsenal in the title race.

Recent Form

City have won their first three games of a league season for the first time since 2016-17, Guardiola’s first campaign at the helm. They won their first six on that occasion, though that may not necessarily be a positive omen, as they went on to finish third that season.

Fulham moved to four points from three games with their draw at the Emirates Stadium, where Andreas Pereira scored within one minute of kick-off. Fulham have scored in the first minute of a Premier League game five times, but they have only won one of those matches (two draws, two defeats).

Fulham are out to end a long-standing Manchester hoodoo on Saturday, having failed to win any of their last 30 Premier League games against City or their rivals Manchester United, drawing five and losing 25. This is the longest winless run against the Manchester clubs in English league history.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Friday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Manchester City vs Fulham Prediction

Manchester City vs Fulham Opta match prediction

The Opta supercomputer is confidently predicting another win for the champions on Saturday, assigning City a 71.8% chance of victory.

Fulham are given just a 9.4% chance of winning at the Etihad for the first time since 2009, with the likelihood of the draw rated at 18.8%.

In the supercomputer’s season predictions, City are overwhelming favourites to secure a fourth successive Premier League title. They are given a 92.9% chance of topping the league table, with Liverpool (4.2%) and Arsenal (2.3%) their most likely challengers.

Across 10,000 season simulations before this game, Fulham suffered relegation just 3.6% of the time. They are expected to finish in mid-table, with 13th (16.8%) and 12th (14.8%) their most likely positions.

Enjoy this? Subscribe to our mailing list to receive exclusive weekly content. And follow us on Twitter too.