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Fulham-Manchester City Preview

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO

STATS Writer

(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Manchester City are enjoying their best stretch of the season, and they'll still have their captain available.

That success shouldn't be in very much jeopardy against Fulham.

After Vincent Kompany's red card was rescinded, City looks to extend their longest winning streak of the season against the visiting Cottagers on Saturday.

Manchester City (14-6-2) have won six of seven with the lone blemish coming in a shock 1-0 loss at Sunderland on Boxing Day.

They won for the fourth time since last weekend, beating Arsenal 2-0 on the road for a third successive clean sheet.

That's a dramatic improvement for a club that were dumped out of Champions League, and sit seven points back of first-place Manchester United in their bid for a second consecutive Premier League title.

"In the last few games it's not that we've improved particularly, it's just that we've had that touch of fortune which maybe we weren't getting earlier on," midfielder David Silva told the team's official website.

The Citizens may have been offered a little more good fortune earlier this week when Kompany had his red card for a tackle on Arsenal's Jack Wilshire rescinded by the Football Association, averting a mandatory three-match ban.

That could be important for City in their quest to close the gap on United.

After facing Fulham - winners of two Premier League matches since October - City will face last-place Queens Park Rangers on Jan. 29. Before that, however, they'll visit Stoke City next weekend in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

"We will keep fighting and hope that (Manchester United) will falter," Silva said. "We just have to continue as we are. The league is still there to be won."

Continued production from Edin Dzeko would surely help. The Bosnian forward has four goals in four matches, matching his scoring output over the previous 18.

He's tallied in each of the last two meetings with Fulham, including the decisive goal in the 87th minute of a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage on Sept. 29.

Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Cottagers in the latest home meeting Feb. 4.

Fulham haven't won there since April 12, 2009, and that seems unlikely to change due to their 2-6-6 league run that continued with last weekend's 1-1 home draw with relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic.

The Cottagers seemed headed for another poor result Wednesday, but Kieran Richardson scored late in stoppage time before Brede Hangeland got the match-winner extra time of a 2-1 victory over Blackpool in the FA Cup.

"We showed a lot of character, but you need a bit more urgency up front," manager Martin Jol told the club's official website. "At the start of the season we were scoring goals for fun, now we're finding it a little bit of a problem."

That concern could create an opening for Richardson, whose only other goal of the season came in a 2-2 draw with promoted Southampton on Oct. 7. He's appeared in only 11 matches - eight starts.

Dimitar Berbatov should be back in the lineup after being rested against Blackpool, but the forward has merely two goals in 12 games after netting a pair in a 3-3 tie with Arsenal on Nov. 10.

Berbatov has one goal in 12 career meetings with City, and that came with Tottenham on May 13, 2007.

Updated January 17, 2013

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