Roy Hodgson is the type of Manager that Manchester City’s high priced squad would excel under. An English tactical maestro, who has lots of continental football management experience, Hodgson is as good as an English manager gets.
City, however have chosen a manager who as recently as 2007 downplayed the role of tactics in favor of player psychology. No doubt in my mind, that many of the non-British players in the squad have excelled under Mancini, but the form of the Gareth Barry among others causes concern.
Fulham is coming off one of the biggest nights in the club’s long history: a European triumph over Juventus. Just a few years ago, the thought of the likes of Juve playing a meaningful match at Craven Cottage was a fantasy of the highest order. But today, under Hodgson, the Cottagers are flying.
October’s reverse fixture at Eastlands exposed the frailties of the Blues under Mark Hughes. Conceding a two goal lead at home and allowing countless chances for Fulham to score even more than the two second half goals they tallied. Whatever Manicini has done tactically or psychologically, a significant change is that it is often City that is playing from behind and gutting out results, not the opposite which was os often the case under Hughes.
This match will tell us a great deal about City’s quest for fourth position. A victory, and the Citizens are well on track to grab fourth, a draw and we’re still very much part of the discussion. A loss means perhaps we’ll be dreaming of replicating Fulham’s good fortune in this season’s Europa League at this time next year.