Match Preview: Fulham vs Manchester United

by Tom Parker

Manchester United will look to extend their good run of results since the international break and win a fourth consecutive game as they travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham tomorrow.

United go into the game on the back of a 4-0 demolition of Norwich on Tuesday and were also victorious against Stoke in their last league outing, coming from behind twice to seal a dramatic 3-2 victory.

Fulham, meanwhile, were eliminated from the Capital One Cup by Championship side Leicester City this week and Martin Jol goes into the match under a raft of pressure. The Cottagers currently lie just two points above the relegation and despite appearing to turn the corner after back-to-back victories, a lacklustre defeat against in-form Southampton followed by their midweek disappointment has heaped more misery on Martin Jol and co.

United have been steadily improving since their slow start to the season and the 4-0 victory over Norwich was arguably the Reds’ best display of the season. This week has been all about in-form Javier Hernandez, who scored against Norwich and Stoke this week, and 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj after their fantastic displays in both games but it remains to be seen whether Moyes will give Hernandez a start he richly deserves.

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand both returned from niggling injuries in midweek and looked fairly comfortable in a routine showing, so they may push for a start at the Cottage. Danny Welbeck isn’t fit enough to travel with the squad while Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are likely to return to the starting XI for the game.

Fulham are without defensive linchpin Brede Hangeland who has been a thorn in United’s side in previous season thanks to his aerial prowess. Hugo Rodallega is also likely to miss out after limping off midweek. Former Reds Dimitar Berbatov and Kieran Richardson could start.

The sides met three times last season with United triumphing on all three occasions. An early season encounter at Old Trafford saw United win 3-2 with new signings Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie among the scorers. A single Wayne Rooney goal was enough to decide the reverse contest in the title run-in and Fulham were also comfortably beaten 4-1 in the F.A Cup.

Fulham are notoriously strong at home but have struggled at Craven Cottage this season where they have won just once. United have been reasonable on their travels this season and are unbeaten against the London-based outfit in the last six meetings and they are expected to extend that run this weekend.

It’s hard to envisage anything but a victory for David Moyes’ side who appear to gathering a reasonable amount of momentum. United already sit behind runaway leaders Arsenal who the Reds play next week and any more slip-ups would be a real blow to our title hopes. Victory would be massive ahead of a potentially season defining game next weekend.

Image: Twitter/ManUtd

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