Fulham welcome Manchester United to Craven Cottage on Saturday and will aim to prevent United opening up a ten point lead. The two sides met recently, in the FA Cup, and United won comfortably. Fulham at home, however, are a different prospect to one of the road.
Ferguson has said that he is likely to make changes for this one but will be sure to show Fulham plenty of respect. Ferdinand and Evans are back and will be looking for a chance to stretch their legs. Ashley Young is still out injured so will not feature meaning that Ferguson must decide whether to go with a narrow team in the shape of a diamond or to play with four across the midfield. If he does let’s hope that Kagawa and Welbeck aren’t asked to play wide again. However, in fairness to the boss, Valencia’s poor form of late may have forced his hand a little in the fixture against Southampton. Van Persie and Rooney are likely to continue up front as Ferguson looks to evolve their partnership.
Berbatov is out injured after stretching his hamstring against West Ham. Jol may opt to give one of his new signings, Emanuelson, his first taste of Craven Cottage but Manolev and Enoh are still awaiting work permits. Sidwell, Diarra, Frei and former United player, Richardson all watch this one from the physio’s room.
• United are unbeaten in the seven previous encounters with Fulham in all competitions.
• In fact Fulham have only recorded three victories in the previous 23 fixtures.
• United have come from behind to secure victory in no less than nine Premier League matches this season.
• From the last 36 points on offer, United have taken 32 of them.
Southampton proved that, even though United won, no game in the Premier League is an easy one and a trip down south to Craven Cottage has plenty of potential to offer itself as a banana skin. To win this one United will have to boss an already fragile Fulham midfield. Carrick and Cleverley could be the ones to do this with Rooney, Kagawa and Nani all playing as a bank of three behind a lone Van Persie. If United start in a 4231 formation then I am convinced that they will win.
• United to win @8/13
• Rooney hattrick @25/1
• Van Persie to score first in a 4-0 win @50/1
• Duff to score first in a 2-1 Fulham win @230/1
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