Fulham vs Manchester United
Barclays Premier League – Saturday 2nd November, 2013 (15:00 KO BST) – Craven Cottage (25,700)
Under-pressure manager Martin Jol ahead of a game against the champions: “Tomorrow is a big game for us and if we can get a good result then the world will look different.”
Knocked out the League Cup by Championship side Leicester City on Tuesday night.
Captain Brede Hangeland remains sidelined with a nerve problem in his leg.
Ex-United forward Dimitar Berbatov will likely take the armband in his absence.
Hugo Rodallega also misses out through injury.
Defender Matthew Briggs is the only other player unavailable to Jol.
After ringing the changes in midweek, Martin Jol is likely to recall the likes of Scott Parker, Steve Sidwell, Sascha Riether and Berbatov to the starting XI.
Sidwell and Riether are Fulham’s only ever-presents this season.
Dimitar Berbatov has struck only 1 league goal so far this season. “I will help Berbatov to find his form again,” stated Jol in his Friday press conference.
Predicted line-up: Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson, Parker, Sidwell, Kasami, Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Berbatov
Home record: P4 W1 D1 L2 F4 A6 Pts4
Home form: L D L W
David Moyes on United’s form ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage:“We’ve been a bit up and down, winning one then losing one, so we’ll hopefully try to get into a bit more consistency.”
Rested for the midweek win over Norwich, Robin van Persie will return to the side.
“He’s trained well and worked quite well this week so hopefully he will be okay,” David Moyes revealed in his Friday press conference.
Impressive on their joint return to first team action, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are nearing full fitness and will hope to be involved.
“They both played for 90 minutes so I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be ready to be selected or involved,” said Moyes.
Danny Welbeck, however, will not feature in the game and will not even travel with the squad due to a persistent knee injury.
After 3 goals in 2 games this week, Javier Hernandez is a hard man to leave out of the side.
“He’s started to do what he’s done over the years: score goals… so long may that continue,” Moyes said of the Mexican.
While he returned for the U-21s this week, Darren Fletcher will not be rushed back into first team action.
Given the night off on Tuesday, Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick will more than likely return to the side.
Marouane Fellaini will also be involved again after missing the Norwich victory due to be cup-tied.
Ashley Young and Wilfried Zaha, who put in decent shifts in the League Cup win, will join Antonio Valencia, Nani, Adnan Januzaj and Shinji Kagawa vying for a slot on either side of the midfield.
Predicted line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Januzaj, Rooney, van Persie
Away record: P4 W2 D0 L2 F7 A7 Pts6
Away form: W L L W
Record at Craven Cottage: P37 W15 D11 L11 F64 A50
Recent meetings at Craven Cottage
Fulham 0-1 United (02-02-13)
Fulham 0-5 United (21-12-11)
Fulham 2-2 United (22-08-10)
Fulham 3-0 United (19-12-09)
Fulham 2-0 United (21-03-09)
Referee: Lee Probert.
The 41-year-old official has taken charge of six Premier League matches so far this season, brandishing four yellow cards and one red card. He has awarded one penalty. Was last seen by United fans when he oversaw April’s 2-2 draw away to West Ham.
Assistants: D England, R West.
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor.
United are unbeaten in 7 league games against Fulham.
Wayne Rooney has scored a club record 11 goals versus Fulham (in 18 games).
Fulham have the worst cross completion rate in the top-flight (14%).
Fulham have, however, scored a league-high 4 goals from corners.
United have had only 5 different goalscorers so far this season, compared with 13 at this point last term.
United are looking to win consecutive league games for the first time this season.
Robin van Persie has scored 6 goals in his last 7 Premier League away games.
Score prediction: Fulham 0-2 United
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