With Tottenham and Chelsea not having Premier League fixtures this weekend, the chance for City to take advantage in the race for the Champions League spots was evident.
However, hoping to emphasise our stranglehold over the coveted top four positions was proving a difficult task with a disjointed side enduring a difficult and woeful 1-1 draw.
Mark Hughes was to visit Eastland`s as an opposing manager for the first time since his departure and was hopeful of his Fulham side to upset city for the fourth season running, with the West London visitors enjoying their previous trips to Manchester.
The reverse fixture between the sides earlier in the season brought delight to City with Hughes`s side embarrassed in the 4-1 victory most Blues recall as our seasons finest performance.
Today`s performance was a devastating contrast of the emphatic rout and the frustration of the home fans and players portrayed the shock result.
City`s start was tedious and slack, the early exchanges hardly illustrated a will to win and rather than the fluent, exciting nature were becoming more accustomed to, it was hard to enjoy anything.
That was until Mario Balotelli took centre-stage anyway. The eccentric Italian has had a bizarre start to his City career with injuries, goals, dismissals and strange behaviour all combining over the past six months.
Hoping his goals will become the main attraction to his performance, Balotelli took aim from 25 yards and perfectly found the bottom corner. It was a delightful finish, but sadly the only delight we had to witness in a drab performance.
Fulham`s knack of coming from behind and clinching results at Eastland`s is becoming embarrassing and Damien Duff scored what proved to be the equaliser after more slack Kompany-less defending.
Andrew Johnson`s pace was causing the City back-line problems and after he raced down the right hand side alone, he was allowed to cross for the unmarked Duff.
As the groaning from the home crowd increased our failure to conjure openings or take the slight chances we had led to more disappointment.
Carlos Tevez and Aleskander Kolarov both tried and tested Schwarzer`s defences, but as usual the veteran stopper was up to the task.
Distribution is getting worse, his shot stopping was good.
Not the start to his City career he had hoped for.
Possibly his best City performance. Along with Zab he atleast put a shift in.
His defence was poor and apart from the one shot his radar was well out.
The usual Zab. Really worked hard.
Today his old performance came through. Lazy.
Tried to influence the game, but had very little runners.
Great goal even if thats all he contributed to.
Far from his best.
Marked out by Hangeland. Shadow of the mid-week Dzeko.
Very bizarre sub, but he did alright.