Welcome back to LazyBets soccer picks and parlays. Fulham FC and Manchester City may be on polar opposite sides of the Premier League table, but both teams will be desperate for a win. The 2018/19 Premier League season draws to a close and every match and point matters.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City currently sits in 2nd place, just two points below 1st placed Liverpool. They also have the all important game in-hand. A win here would bring them one step closer to being the first team to retain the title since Manchester United in the 2008/2009 season under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Fulham are currently struggling towards the bottom of the table. Relegation looks inevitable as the men from Craven Cottage are currently 13 points from safety. They have just 7 games left on the fixture list. Having sacked two managers already this season, ex-England international Scott Parker has taken the helm as caretaker manager. He continues his attempt to steady the ship. It will take a miraculous change of form and a series of defeats to their key rivals for Fulham to escape the relegation zone now.
Let's dive into this one with our traditional free analysis and Soccer free pick.
Scott Parker has three games managing Fulham under his belt. He has been favoring a 4-3-3 formation and will likely do the same in this one. His club has scored a goal in each of his first three games. The competition has been stiff and included two 1-2 home losses against Chelsea and Liverpool and a 3-1 away loss against Leicester City.
Parker has yet to record his first win as manager. Pressure grows on him to deliver a result. If he doesn't Fulham plummets back down into the Championship. It's a place the Craven Cottage faithful don't want to be but know all to well. They escaped from the 2018 Championship Playoff final. They will need to muster all their strength and go for the win in this one. Clusters of three point results are all that can keep Fulham out of the doomed position they're currently in. A draw and one point is of very little utility to the Cottagers. Having yet to manage a win since January and having recorded 7 straight league defeats, it will take either extreme skill or luck to take any points from the reigning champions.
Manchester City Analysis
Manchester City have been flying high. They've won their last 11 games in all competitions. Even with this success, their Premier League form has appeared to dip on goal differential. This could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the growing pressure of still participating in four different competitions has begun to wear them out.
With one piece of silverware in the bag already, Manchester City press on in their efforts to write history in becoming the first Premier League team ever to win the quadruple. It seems to be taking its toll. They narrowly scraped past Swansea City in a 3-2 win which saw them book a ticket to Wembley. They only went through due to a lack of VAR at the Swan's ground. They reached the FA Cup’s Semi-Finals with a pedestrian win over League 2 squad Newport County. On the main stage they overpowered Bundesliga squad Schalke 04 in a 10-2 aggregate Champions League win taking them into the last 8. With this season’s end in sight, it is important that Manchester City remain focused if they want to build on their recent success.
Despite a huge aggregate win against Schalke 04, including one 7-0 win at home, City have been less than emphatic of late. They've struggled to produce convincing performances against both West Ham and Bournemouth in Premier League play mustering just 1-0 scorelines. The West Ham result was particularly dodgy. They were awarded a contentious penalty.
Irrespective of the lacklustre score lines, Manchester City prevented Bournemouth from even taking a shot on goal. They sequestered West Ham to just two shots on goal. These defensive performances have been the result of dominating possession and controlling the games with their highly successful 4-3-3 formation. Even with an injury to key man De Bruyne, a midfield trio of David Silva, Bernardo Silva, and İlkay Gündoğan has gelled together to produce a fine engine room that has taken the gusto out of opposing attacks.
Recent low score lines would appear that the perhaps the strikers had forgotten their shooting boots at home; however, their 7-0 victory over Schalke 04 in the Champions League may just be an indication that Manchester City are ready to push on and attempt to mimic their goal-scoring form of previous months. Manchester City have managed to score 5 goals past an opponent in a match on no less than ten occasions this season.
Manchester City’s top ever goal scorer, Sergio Aguero, who managed two Premier League hat-tricks against Chelsea and Arsenal in February, is currently leading the race for this season’s Golden Boot award. Aguero currently sits in first place with 18 goals. He leads the likes of Salah, Aubameyang, Kane, and Mane who all have 17 Premier League goals respectively and will be looking to take advantage of the match against Fulham to further propel himself ahead of his rivals.
There isn't a ton of value when it comes to our Fulham vs Manchester City free pick, but we do have an edge here. Both teams are desperate for a win. Fulham in particular have been well regimented in defense. We think their 2-1 result against Liverpool, even as a loss, is indicative of what Manchester City can expect to face here.
Fulham had minimal amounts of players to contribute to the international break. Ryan Babel was of primary note for the Netherlands surprisingly. Other than that, the men from Craven Cottage should be well rested and well regimented with the extra week of preparation.
Manchester City's lack of recent goal scoring form comes into focus here. They have put up large margins in big contests but have also left some reason for doubt with 2-0, 1-0, and 1-0 scorelines making up three of their last six contests.
We like the scrap of Fulham here. The under 3.5 goal total is -110 with MyBookie. We find it quite valuable. Anything goes in relegation battles and while we don't expect a win out of the Lilywhites, we can fully see this game being lowscoring. Perhaps Fulham will even scrape out a draw. A punt on Fulham +700 is attractive. A lot can happen with these two extremes causing fight or flight emotions.
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