Manchester United travel to Fulham today searching for the continuity that’s been sorely missing so far this season as the Reds seek to secure their first back-to-back league wins of the campaign at Craven Cottage.
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Three wins on the trot at Old Trafford versus Real Sociedad, Stoke City and Norwich City mean United arrive in London on the back of a six-game unbeaten run in all competition, a much needed improvement after the difficult start to the campaign they endured under David Moyes and the poor results at home against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.
While United remain under pressure – the feeling is that they’ll continue to do so until they lift some sort of silverware – for once their opponent are too, as Fulham arrive into today’s game – United’s third 3pm Saturday kick off in a row! – on the back of a poor league form and after having been knocked out by Leicester in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
Having secured an emphatic win away at Crystal Palace two weeks ago, Martin Jol’s men crumbled against Southampton on Saturday, as they failed to create any meaningful chances, while their back four was repeatedly exposed and Jol could be without his best centre-back, Brede Hangeland, on Saturday.
If Fulham’s rearguard is creaking, United’s isn’t watertight either, considering that both teams have already conceded 12 goals this season in the Premier League and David Moyes must address his team’s defensive shape.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic returned to the starting XI against Norwich on Tuesday, but both could again miss out to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, as Moyes is expected to show faith in the younger centre-backs pairing yet again, while Danny Welbeck is still nursing a knee problem and will miss the trip.
With Welbeck out, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie will again be the men United turn to for creativity and goals. The former has scored or assisted 11 goals in his last 15 Premier League away games, while the latter has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League away games, bringing his tally to 16 in 22 Premier League games away from Old Trafford since joining United.
It’d be interesting to see who will partner Michael Carrick in midfield, for while United are theoretically better equipped than the Londoners in the middle of the park – not something Reds get to say very often – Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell are likely to raise their game and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Marouane Fellaini starting, particularly to provide height in defensive situations, given that Fulham have scored a league-high four goals originating from corners this season.
United are unbeaten in each of their last 11 Premier League games in London since losing to Arsenal in May 2011, but the South West corner of the capital is particularly uninviting territory for them, considering that four of their last five league defeats in London have come against either Chelsea or Fulham.
The Cottagers, who sit in 13th place but are only two points clear of the relegation zone, have won just one of their four home league games this season, scoring a meagre four goals and have lost the last five in a row against United, including last season’s corresponding fixture, when a Wayne Rooney goal sealed a 1-0 win for United, after the game had to be interrupted as the lights had gone out.
Hopefully there’ll be no interruptions today and United can bag three points while we make the most of a great day out!
Remember, if you’re a matchday Red looking to buy tickets for upcoming Manchester United matches, you can find tickets for all their games via Ticketbis.net.
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