Manchester United travel to Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening to take on Fulham as we look to maintain our position at the top of the Premier League table. The Red Devils come into this fixture having drawn 0-0 with current league champions Liverpool on Sunday. We faced the Cottagers who haven’t won a Premier League game since November.
The highly anticipated game against the Merseysiders at the weekend did not quite live up to its billing as we played out a largely uneventful draw at Anfield. United will be much happier of the two teams as we came through our biggest test of the season unscathed whilst hanging onto the top spot.
It shows how far United have come in the last year as our changing mindset and ambition means we came away from this game a little bit disappointed not to have won. We had a few chances near the end of the game through Fernandes and Pogba. I think Ole Gunnar Solskjær and the fans would have taken the point before the match but we had created the biggest chances of the match. It was two saves from Liverpool’s Alison Becker meant we could not be the first team since April 2017 to record a Premier League win at Anfield.
Maintaining Our Form
Had United won on Sunday, we could have stretched our lead over Liverpool to six points. In addition, it might have been a four-point gap over Manchester City and Leicester City respectively. At the moment, we only have a two-point advantage over these teams.
We could arrive at Craven Cottage on Wednesday sitting in third place as both Manchester City and Leicester City play before us. United are very much in the mix for being title contenders. We could be top of the league after 19 games as we reach the halfway stage of the season.
This has been one of the most intriguing Premier League season yet. There are many teams competing to be in the top four. The challenge for United is now to remain on top. The key behind this will be our away form as we are currently unbeaten on the road this season. The draw at Anfield on Sunday means we have gone more than a year without losing a Premier League away game. If we were to beat Fulham, we would equal a club record of 17 consecutive Premier League games away from Old Trafford without defeat.
Fulham head into this game on a seven-game winless run that goes back towards the end of November. However, this does not quite tell the true picture of their form over this period. They have taken points off Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton. Fulham have seen defeats against Manchester City and most recently lost 1-0 to Chelsea on Saturday evening. In the game against Chelsea, they had been forced to play with 10 men after Antonee Robinson sending off just before half time.
Manager Scott Parker might have thought they would have got something out of the game had they been 11 men on the pitch as they did create chances. However, discipline has been a problem for Fulham with Antonee Robinson’s red card the third one they have picked up this season.
Whilst the Fulham defence has steadily improved as they have only conceded three goals in their last four games. It is at the other end of the pitch that concerns are being raised. They have only scored three times in the last seven matches. The Cottagers have not scored in the last three consecutive home games since they drew against Liverpool last month.
The defence improvement has seen Fulham pick up regular points in the last month. Whilst the wins for Brighton and West Brom at the weekend have hampered their survival hopes. However, the gap above the relegation zone is just a mere four points which will give them some hope to get out of it.
Fulham vs Manchester United Details
Teams: Fulham vs Manchester United
Date: January 20th, 2020 (Wednesday)
KO Time: 20:15 GMT
Competition: Premier League
Stadium: Craven Cottage
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Scott Parker
Manchester United Team News
United have a near full strength squad to choose from as the only absentees are Brandon Williams, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. It will be interesting to see Ole will rotate the squad for this game given we are facing Liverpool again on Sunday but this time the FA Cup. The Premier League remains the priority for United, we should not expect to see wholesale changes. There may be one or two changes to keep players’ legs fresh.
Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked about his opponents and their current form. He said, “I think they’ve had a very good turnaround from a slow start. It’s hard enough to go to Craven Cottage anyway but at the moment they’re very well structured on and off the ball. They’ve got some fantastic players defensively, very quick and strong, good on the ball so individually, going forward, they have got players who can make a difference. So it’s another tough game in the Premier League.”
Ole was asked about Bruno Fernandes’s form recently. He said, “His form is very good, he was just voted the Player of the Month. He’s not tired, no. No chance. He’s one of the players who runs and covers the ground in every single game. He’s very good at recovery, very good at recharging his batteries. If he’d scored with his free-kick [a Anfield], if he’d just had a bit of air on the shot when Luke put the cross in, he’d have been lauded as the best player in the Premier League again. Since he came in he’s been absolutely immense. No, he’s not tired. If I ask him, there’s absolutely no chance he’ll say he’s tired.”
Fulham Team News
Antonee Robinson’s red card at the weekend means he will be unavailable for this game against United. This will see Joe Bryan come in to fill his position. Bobby Decordova-Reid is also suspended for this game after picking his fifth yellow card of the season.
Scott Parker will have to do without Tom Cairney, Mario Lemina, and Terence Kongolo who are on the sidelines with injuries. Forward Aleksandar Mitrović will be available for selection having missed out on the Chelsea game. Whilst Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in contention after he could not play against his parent club at the weekend.
Manchester United Premier League form: WDWWWD
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWLWWD
Fulham Premier League form: DDDDDL
Fulham form (all competitions): DDDWDL
- United have won their last four top-flight away games against Fulham by an aggregate score of 12-1 and are unbeaten in their last eight top-flight meetings with promoted sides, scoring 25 goals in that time.
- United are 12 points better off than at this stage of last season.
- Solskjaer was unbeaten in all eight league games as a player versus Scott Parker, winning six and drawing two.
- Manchester United remain unbeaten away from home for one year in the Premier League
- Manchester United could reach 40 points after 19 games, it took till game week 27 to reach this point last season.
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Van De Beek, Rashford, and Cavani.
United are only the team not to lose an away game this season in the Premier League and we will continue that on Wednesday evening. We have scored the most goals and obtain the most points on the road. Given their early form in the season, Fulham have become a difficult side now to beat as they stopped conceding goals. But on the other hand they are rarely scoring them. We will head into the trip to Fulham full of confidence in the hope we can extend our 12 game unbeaten run in the league.
Fulham 0-1 Manchester United