Manchester United was able to keep hold onto their spot at the top of the Premier League table after a brave defensive effort to get a point out of Liverpool at Anfield. Now to keep their place there, they need to start notching up big wins once again.
To be genuine title contenders, they need to win games against the likes of Fulham. Of course, the newly-promoted side is no walk in the park and have scraped important points against LFC & Tottenham Hotspur this season. But going by their away form, United have no excuses for this one & must put in a dominant showing to prove their might in the title race.
Fulham Likely XI
Areola, Odoi, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Bryan, Reed, Anguissa, Reid, Loftus-Cheek, Cavaleiro, Mitrovic
Fulham have some injury absentees, with first team stars Tom Cairney, Mario Lemina, Terence Kongolo & Antonee Robinson (suspended) all expected to miss the game. Star striker Aleksandr Mitrovic, however, should return.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Bruno, Rashford, Martial, Cavani
Brandon Williams remains United’s only absentee.
Fulham vs Manchester United Preview
United might’ve put in a better performance at Anfield than most of the PL sides, but will perhaps be disappointed not to come away with more. But more than anything, they’ll be motivated by the result & hungrier to get back to winning ways at Craven Cottage.
Before the LFC game, 3 of United’s wins in the league all came through a narrow one-goal margin. That needs to improve. The Red Devils’ attack fell flat against a sturdy Liverpool side and must get back to their menacing ways against a Fulham side, who have proven to be difficult to score past.
Indeed, Scott Parker’s impressive assembling of his defensive shape has allowed his side to restrict the likes of LFC, Chelsea & Tottenham to just 1 goal apiece. The Red Devils should dominate the game & must be more diverse with their attacking patterns to break open this Fulham.
Bruno Fernandes will aim to put in a livelier performance as he did at Anfield. If he manages to be more accurate with his final product and take less unnecessary risks, he should run the show with an iron fist. Edinson Cavani should start after his impressive cameo. His movement, ability to destabilize defenders & clinical finishing ability will be key to finishing off chances.
Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial have both been hot n’ cold in recent weeks. They have the ability to surge past defenders at will, but both must improve their decision-making & be more ruthless in the attack to create definitive chances. Paul Pogba will also aim to provide the added creative spark to help open up Fulham’s shape.
Fulham might be defensively strong, but can cause a lot of problems on the counter-attack & set-pieces. United have improved at the back, but need to maintain that impenetrable aura to keep another clean-sheet. The in-form Luke Shaw & Aaron Wan-Bissaka also need to deliver on the attacking front along with fulfilling defensive duties.
United need to be on top of this game from the get-go. They must be braver with pouring more bodies into the attack, not make silly mistakes defensively & take advantage of formidable scoring chances when they come to continue their highly impressive away run in the PL.
Fulham’s stubborn backline & United’s slight inefficiency in attack could make this an occasionally frustrating affair. But I still think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has enough quality to grind through a 2-0 win.