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Talking Points: City to ring the changes?

JESUS: That moment when your team mate scores a cracker of a goal!

JESUS: That moment when your team mate scores a cracker of a goal!

City return to Carabao Cup action on Thursday night with the visit of Fulham in Round Four...

We analyse the topics for discussion ahead of the clash...

1Ringing the changes?

As the first of four games in 11 days - across three competitions - squad rotation will be crucial for City.

Tonight's game provides the perfect chance to rest key names, while handing valuable minutes to those players who have not accrued much gametime so far this season.

READ: Mahrez, Laporte and Silva up for Etihad vote

WATCH: Stones v Sterling... and Bernardo's touch of class

GALLERY: Training | City's sunshine boys train sights on Fulham

Youngsters Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Aro Muric could receive the nod, while Oleks Zinchenko,Fabian Delph and Gabriel Jesus may also feature.

The Ukrainian told ManCity.com he is relishing the chance to shine.

ZINC METTLE: Oleksandr speaks to CityTV about the Carabao Cup fourth round.

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Zinchenko: Carabao Cup a chance to shine

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2Familiar foe

City boast an impressive record against Fulham, unbeaten in our last 12 meetings and having won the last six games in succession. The Cottagers last emerged victorious in April 2009.

We last welcomed the London outfit to the Etihad Stadium a matter of weeks ago and stormed to a 3-0 triumph, thanks to goals from Leroy Sane, David Silva and Raheem Sterling.

The last League Cup meeting took place in September 2009, as City needed extra-time to progress, with Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure on the scoresheet.

Extra-time of course will not occur this evening, as we now head straight into a penalty shoot-out and although the Blues have a strong recent record - particularly in this competition - hopefully, spot-kicks will not be required!

HIGHLIGHTS REBOOTED: A look back at Saturday's fine win over Fulham

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3Present form

Both sides enter the game in contrasting runs of form - City are so far unbeaten in the 2017/18 campaign and have racked up three consecutive wins, while Fulham have struggled on their return to Premier League football and have lost their last four in a row.

Still, as has been proven so often in the past, anything can happen in the cup with a switch in focus - a chance to relieve the pressure from league difficulties and employ a different mindset.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic says his side will first and foremost be using the game as an opportunity to improve and as the underdogs, can enjoy a match without stress or expectation.

Especially as the holders of the trophy, the pressure is on City to win and the Blues will be aware of that.

Worth noting that we didn't score in either of our Fourth Round games in 2016/17 or 2017/18, losing 1-0 to Manchester United and drawing 0-0 at home to Wolves.

Plus, the holders of the competition have been eliminated at this stage in three of the last four seasons - City in 2014/15 and 2016/17 and Chelsea in 2015/16.

 
EVERY ANGLE: Enjoy Riyad Mahrez's winner against Tottenham over and over...

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4Lying in wait

With the Quarter-Final draw having taken place on Wednesday night, after Chelsea's win over Derby, both City and Fulham head into tonight's tie in the knowledge of who awaits in the last eight: Leicester or Southampton away.

The Foxes-Saints' match - due to take place on Tuesday - was postponed, following the tragic weekend events at the King Power Stadium, with a new date to be confirmed.

The Quarter-Final tie - whoever it includes - will take place on the week commencing 17 December.

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