Fulham vs Manchester United
Barclay’s Premier League (2nd February, 2013 – 17:30 KO)
Fulham boss Martin Jol on facing United: “I think we’re playing the champions-elect this weekend.”
Cheers, Martin. Fulham will be without ex-United Bulgarian wonder, Dimitar Berbatov, who picked up a hamstring injury in the week. Also missing will be Steve Sidwell (knee), Kieran Richardson (calf), Mahamadou Diarra (knee), Kerim Frei (groin) and new signing Eyong Enoh, who did not receive his work permit in time to feature. Other deadline day signings, Stanislav Manolev and Urby Emanuelson, are available. Fulham bounced back from defeat at Old Trafford with a 3-1 home win against West Ham on Wednesday night.
Also, once again, the Fulham FC ‘Mystic Chicks’ predict this weekend’s result: http://youtu.be/T9D3dTVJyr4
Predicted Fulham line-up: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Riether, Duff, Karagounis, Baird, Ruiz, Emanuelson, Rodallega
Home record: P12 W5 D3 L4 F21 A16 Pts18
Home form: L W D L D W
Stadium: Craven Cottage (25,700)
Manchester United (1st)
Sir Alex Ferguson on the trip to Craven Cottage: “Fulham got a fantastic result midweek and we hope we can navigate this trip. We’re at the stage where every result is important.”
Ashley Young remains on the sidelines, while Jonny Evans, who is back in training, is likely to find the game comes too soon. Sir Alex has stated that Rio Ferdinand will start, with either Nemanja Vidic or Chris Smalling partnering him at the back. Javier Hernandez, missing from Wednesday’s 2-1 over Southampton, should be available for selection again. A penalty award should see Robin van Persie step forward, after Wayne Rooney relinquished duties this week. With a fully-fit squad to choose from, expect Sir Alex to make one or two changes. Massive opportunity to go 10 points clear at the top of the table, with Manchester City not playing until Sunday.
Predicted United line-up: de Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Cleverley, Carrick, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie
Away record: P12 W8 D2 L2 F27 A16 Pts26
Away form: L W W D W D
Record at Craven Cottage: P36 W14 D11 L11 F63 A50
Kevin Friend. Has officiated 14 Premier League fixtures this season, dishing out 51 yellow cards and a solitary red. The 41-year-old has awarded 3 penalties this term, and last refereed United in their 3-2 win at Villa Park back in November.
Recent meetings at Craven Cottage
Fulham 0-5 United (21-12-11), Fulham 2-2 United (22-08-10), Fulham 3-0 United (19-12-09), United 2-0 Fulham (21-03-09), Fulham 0-4 United (07-03-09)
2012/13 head-to-head (PL)
Goals: (Fulham) 36 – (United) 59
Conceded: 41 – 31
Top scorer: Dimitar Berbatov (8) – Robin van Persie (18)
Assists: Damien Duff (7) – Wayne Rooney (7)
Most appearances: Sascha Riether (24) – Robin van Persie (24)
Disciplinary: 26 yellows, 1 red – 42 yellows, 0 reds
Shots per game: 12.8 – 15.2
Average possession: 49.8% – 56.8%
Pass success rate: 82.4% – 86.1%
Best passer: Dimitar Berbatov (47.4/80%) – Michael Carrick (79/87.9%)
After scoring in last week’s 4-1 FA Cup victory, another goal for Wayne Rooney will take him to 11 goals against Fulham – a new club record. He is currently tied on 10 with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Bobby Charlton.
Paul Scholes’ 30 minute FA Cup cameo took him to 20 career appearances against the Cottagers. Another this weekend will move him one ahead of Bobby Charlton, and the out-right club record holder.
Fulham and United have not played out a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage since the 28th of October, 1922.
United have been winning at both half-time and full-time in their last 5 matches against Fulham in all competitions.
United are unbeaten in 6 league matches against Fulham, winning 5 and scoring an average of 2.7 goals per game.
United have dropped only 2 points from winning positions this season, while Fulham have surrendered 8 leads, dropping 18 points.
Wayne Rooney has 5 goals in his last 4 appearances against Fulham.
Score prediction: Fulham 0-3 United