After returning from victory against the small club in Fulham on Wednesday night in the Champions League, United entertain the main team from that section of London this Saturday, as Mark Hughes brings his Fulham side to Old Trafford.
Fulham have hit the headlines recently for unveiling a a statue of Michael Jackson outside their ground. Some people have thought it in-appropriate that the statue of the King Of Pop should be placed outside Craven Cottage. Personally, I think the idea is off the wall.
Paul Scholes is available for United again after suspension, whereas Johnny Evans and Wayne Rooney are out. The Irishman continues his three match ban, and the number 10 starts his two match suspension.
Anderson came back in to the reserves in midweek, scoring a couple of goals in the process so he could feature in a midfield which also has Darren Fletcher vying for a spot. Fletcher has been out with a bad virus in the last few weeks, but he seems to be ready to step back in to the side.
Whether Wes Brown or John O’Shea are fit to start remains to be seen but Rafael, stretchered off against Chelsea in midweek, will definitely miss out.
Owen Hargreaves continues to be absent with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately for him it takes longer to heal him than it does to heal the world.
The strength of the squad is now near it’s fullest, we’ve passed through a difficult spell and come out of it still on top of the pile, a fantastic seven points in front of nearest rivals Arsenal.
But how much of a fight will Fulham put up against us to put a dent in our hopes of getting our troophy back?
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United legend Mark Hughes brings his Fulham side to Old Trafford for the first time, and despite being 10th in the Premiership, the tightness of the table this year means that they are just six points from the drop zone.
He has an impressive record against us as a manager – quite a smooth criminal in stealing some points – winning two and drawing three of 12 matches. His sides give us problems, and often play in the style we associate with Sparky himself. Work hard, play hard, and attack. Don’t give a damn about the opponents, it’s about us and not them. And he’s not afraid of his teams being a bit dangerous.
Hughes said of his approach to the game this weekend: “We’re playing well so why not have a go? From our point of view it’s about playing to the best of our abilities and making sure we cause problems for Manchester United”
Hughes did lose the love of some United fans last year by nailing his Manchester City colours on to his chest, especially in the 4-3 derby. But would anyone expect Leslie Mark Hughes to want anything less than a win? At anything? It’s what made him the player he was at United. It’s black and white with Hughes, and I think most reds recognise that.
The opponents of the rest of the world…
In a game which wont be anything like a thriller, the reds have a strong squad at their disposal, and are likely to go with a 4-4-2 formation. With Rooney missing, Berbatov is surely due a start – especially after making a lot of difference to the side against West Ham and Bolton when he came on. He should partner Chicharito upfront.
Michael Carrick’s stirling performance against Chelsea in midweek will hopefully carry through to this one, where a central midfield partnership with Ji Sung Park could feature once again. Valencia and Nani occupying both wings could happen, with Ryan Giggs resting his old legs on the bench. However, with as many options as we seem to have in midfield now, predicting it isn’t as easy as ABC.
You are not alone in wondering who will play at right back for the reds, but Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra are likely to start.
Continued on page two.