Player ratings: Fulham v Manchester City

Hart – Did well in dealing with balls into the box, aside from one punched effort. No chance with the goal and few saves to make. 7

Zabaleta – He doesn’t score tap-ins! Pablo’s attitude can be summed up by the way he was making a tackle immediately after the game restarted following his stunning second goal for the club. 8

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Preview: Fulham v Manchester City

However much he tries to play it down, there’s little doubt Mark Hughes ringed this match when the fixture lists came out. After two scoreless draws, the critics will be poised when Roberto Mancini sends out his team at Craven Cottage on Sunday. The Italian’s best answer will be a repeat of the performance at West Brom in our previous away game.

There’s a chance it could happen as well, even without Mario Balotelli, our two goal hero that day. Home sides are more likely to come out and attack than Alex McLeish’s disciplined defensive unit were last weekend. When they do, we have the players capable of exploiting the gaps.

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Verdict: Manchester City 0 Birmingham City 0

A second successive goalless draw at home left the crowd frustrated and criticism of Roberto Mancini is back on the agenda. Had we taken one of our 21 goal attempts then this would have been deemed a satisfactory week.

The three games in six games caught up with City in the area of finishing. We may not have battered Birmingham, but there were sufficient chances to score and one of them would surely have been taken had the team been fresher.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Birmingham City

Hart – Cut a frustrated figure when he wasn’t able to initiate attacks quickly. Needs to stay calm and ensure possession is retained. 6

Boateng – Looking a lot more assured on the right hand side of defence. Defended well but we could have done with some of the long range passing, which can be his forte, to initiate attacks. 7

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