Verdict: Manchester City 1 Fulham 1

A disappointing draw with Mark Hughes in the dugout at Eastlands is hardly a new feeling, rather an unwelcome reminder of how we are yet to fully evolve into a top side. Mario Balotelli provided the one moment of real quality with a superb strike, while Fulham warranted their draw as City put in a jaded performance.

Mancini paid the price for playing strong sides against Notts County and Aris. The eight goals scored without reply in those two games now looks like overkill after we failed to get a second against Fulham.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Fulham

Hart – No chance with the goal and rarely called upon elsewhere as Fulham failed to produce shots on target. 6

Boateng – Neither attacked or defended with enough menace. Hard to recall Jerome stopping a cross and it looks increasingly like centre-back is his only position of real strength. 5

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Europa League verdict: Manchester City 3 Aris Salonika 0

It was hoped that City would continue from where they left off against Notts County and so they did. Edin Dzeko bagged an early brace to set Roberto Mancini’s side on the road to a comfortable victory which was sealed with a deflected second half strike by Yaya Toure.

Mancini deployed Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli and Silva for the first time and the results were impressive. Those who believe Mancini has been overly cautious in not deploying them before are guilty of overlooking Balotelli’s injury problems.

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Europa League preview: Manchester City v Aris Salonika

City continue their run of cup games with a finely balanced second leg against Aris Salonika. Roberto Mancini previously sent out a strong line-up in Greece with the intention of killing the tie and enabling him to rest players ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Fulham.

That win failed to materialise with a subdued performance from several players, following the derby defeat to United. Tonight, Mancini’s selection options are reduced by injuries and the need for victory.

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