Cyrus Christie

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Watch Live: Fulham v. Man City

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Fulham host Manchester City at Craven Cottage on Saturday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), as Pep Guardiola‘s side know a win will take them back to the top of the Premier League table.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Caretaker boss Scott Parker knows his Fulham side are all but relegated from the Premier League, but this is a huge chance for him to show he deserves the job on a permanent basis. As for City and Guardiola, their quest to win an unprecedented quadruple is well and truly on and everyone expects them to pile the pressure on Liverpool who play on Sunday against Tottenham.

In team news Fulham are without Aleksandar Mitrovic, Tim Ream and Jean-Michael Seri so Cyrus Christie, Maxime Le Marchand and Ryan Sessegnon come into the starting lineup.

Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne returns to the starting lineup, while Fernandinho is also fit again and is on the bench. De Bruyne comes in for Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte replaces Vincent Kompany.


LINEUPS

Claudio Ranieri on Fulham’s relegation battle

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Claudio Ranieri‘s Fulham lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace and are now seven points from safety in the Premier League.

The Cottagers missed a big early chance as Aleksandar Mitrovic headed wide, and they never recovered from Cyrus Christie handling in the box to give away a cheap penalty kick.

Speaking after the game, Ranieri made a point of saying Fulham were in trouble when he arrived back in November.

“The first half was good until the penalty, we had the match in our hands. We controlled the match. The penalty changed the match. They deserved to win in the second half, they were better than us. They had three or four chances – well done to Roy.

“The service to Mitrovic was not good enough. We spoke a lot about crosses, crosses, crosses. I tried to do something – I put another striker on but it wasn’t good. We were in trouble from the beginning but we will continue to be positive, be strong. It’s important to be optimistic. We have a target in our mind.”

That last part just sounds like Ranieri trying to remind everyone that Fulham were in deep trouble when he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic. And they were.

But Fulham have only picked up three wins in Ranieri’s 13 PL games in charge and although they had plenty of the ball at Selhurst Park they couldn’t penetrate Palace’s defense at all. Going forward, for once, they struggled but it was the same story at the back as defensive mistakes are costing them dear.

With games against Man United, West Ham, Southampton, Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool and Man City in their next seven, it is tough to see where the points are coming from for Fulham to get themselves out of trouble.

Fulham skipper Tom Cairney bemoaned their mistake in the first half against Palace and summed up the magnitude of the task ahead.

“A sloppy penalty gave them something to hold on to, that’s frustrating. They were as desperate as us for the points,” Cairney said. “We need wins. Quite a few wins. I think it will be less than 40 points to stay up this year. I am confident we can do it, we have got to believe.”

Crystal Palace cruise past Fulham (video)

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  • Milivojevic nets first half PK
  • Schlupp adds late goal
  • Batshuayi makes Palace debut

Crystal Palace beat Fulham 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Roy Hodgson‘s side secured a vital three points.

Despite Fulham playing well early on and Aleksandar Mitrovic missing a big chance, a first half penalty from Luka Milivojevic put Palace ahead.

In the second half Palace were the better team and Jeffrey Schlupp added a second goal late on after good work from substitute Michy Batshuayi on his debut.

With the win Palace move up to 14th place on 26 points, while Fulham stay in 19th place with 17 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham spurned a great chance early on as Joe Bryan whipped in a lovely ball for Mitrovic but he somehow nodded off target.

The Cottagers had all the play early on as Palace started the game slowly.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A big moment arrived soon after as Cyrus Christie handled in the box under pressure from Christian Benteke, and Palace went ahead against the run of play. Milivojevic sent home the spot kick, as four of Palace’s seven home goals had come from penalties.

Christian Benteke then rolled back the years and sent an incredible overhead kick against the crossbar as Palace pushed for a second.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace started the second half well as Fulham struggled to get going.

Jordan Ayew‘s shot was pushed over by Sergio Rico and James Tomkins put a header from a corner over. Rico also denied Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho nodded wide at the back post as Palace kept pushing.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Batshuayi came on for his debut and made an instant impact as his shot was saved by Rico, but Sclupp finished off the rebound. 2-0 to Palace.

AT HALF: Higuain gets first Chelsea goal; Wolves keep firing

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Gonzalo Higuain is on the scoreboard as a Premier League player, and his first contribution is very much what we’ve come to expect from the former Napoli man.

But penalties are the name of the game(s), accounting for three of the day’s six matches.

Chelsea 2-0 Huddersfield – NBCSN [STREAM]

Higuain took a terrific pass from N'Golo Kante, and just hammered a shot to the near side of Jonas Lossl. Eden Hazard converted a Cesar Azpilicueta-won penalty for the other goal.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Fulham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

A Cyrus Christie handball sent Luka Milivojevic to the spot, and the Palace man rarely misses those (even if Sergio Rico got a piece of it).

Everton 1-2 Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

An early Ruben Neves penalty was canceled out by a nice Andre Gomes strike, but red-hot Raul Jimenez has restored the Wolves lead.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

The Seagulls had the best chance to go ahead, but so far it’s level.

Burnley 0-0 Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Ashley Barnes is very fortunate to not be sent off after a reaction to a yellow for diving that might make Wilfried Zaha blush.

Fulham held by Wolves

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  • Wolves equalize late on
  • Fulham took the lead through Sessegnon
  • No win in six PL games for Fulham

Fulham and Wolves drew 1-1 at Craven Cottage on Boxing Day, as the home side almost held on for a precious win.

Ryan Sessegnon gave them the lead in the second half, but a late equalizer from Romain Saiss denied the Cottagers all three points. Aleksandar Mitrovic went close to scoring on multiple occasions, but Fulham’s main man couldn’t cap his superb display with a goal.

With the draw Fulham momentarily moved off the bottom of the Premier League table, while Wolves edged up to ninth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Fulham started well as Mitrovic had a powerful effort blocked and nodded just wide soon after.

Wolves looked dangerous on the counter and could have had a penalty kick as Denis Odoi appeared to clearly handle the ball from a corner but nothing was given.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Soon after Raul Jimenez almost scored a fantastic goal as he controlled a high ball in the box, swivelled and smashed just over. Before half time Fulham, and Mitrovic, came close twice as he first headed an effort on goal and then somehow couldn’t get on the end of Cyrus Christie‘s driven cross to the back post.

Mitrovic then got past two Wolves defenders in the box and had a clean sight on goal, but Rui Patricio rushed out to deny the Serbian striker.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In the second half Wolves started to edge their way back into the game but were mostly limited to long-range efforts as Fulham’s defense stood firm.

And then the key moment arrived via a substitute.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A long ball into the box caused mayhem and Patricio could punch clear. Sessegnon drilled a low effort in on goal which Wolves couldn’t clear as the ball crossed the line and put Fulham ahead.

But Wolves struck back with less than five minutes on the clock as Ivan Cavaleiro crossed to the back post and Saiss arrived to tap home after Helder Costa put Joe Bryan under pressure. 1-1.

Late on Wolves looked more likely to find a winner, but Mitrovic almost squeezed home a winner but Conor Coady cleared his shot off the line with Patricio beaten.