Fulham: At a glance

Manager: Martin Jol

Stadium: Craven Cottage

Home & Away*: (A) Sat 2 Nov; (H) Sat 8 Feb

Last year: 12th

Last time we met: Fulham 0-1 United, 2 Feb 2013

*Dates/KO times subject to change

14/08/2013 08:45,

Preview 13/14: Fulham

With a new owner, can the Cottagers give up their mid-table comfort zone?

So, Fulham. Unpredictable bunch? Ah, trusty Fulham. Since the choppy ride in their heart-thumping 2007/08 survival, they've resided in the calmer waters of mid-table, never higher than seventh, not lower than last term's 12th.

Even under zany owner Mohamed Al Fayed? Er, former owner. The eccentric ex-Harrods honcho sold out to billionaire Shahid Khan this summer.

A new owner means upheaval, right? Not necessarily. "Martin knows a lot more about football than I do," admits the new man. "I'd just like to understand what the plan is."

Martin? Jol. Dutch. Manager. Sounds like he's scoffed a bowl of gravel.

Ah, yes. So what is his plan? Jol has already added experience and presence to his squad. He's brought in Fernando Amorebieta (a hulking central defender who featured in Athletic Bilbao's Europa League dismantling of United), well-travelled Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng and, most impressively, Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, repeatedly linked with United. If Berba's unpredictable flair wasn't enough, Jol has added Adel Taarabt to the skill-laden ranks on loan from QPR.

With those reinforcements, will they cause United any bother? Not in the title race but last season's league games were both settled by a one-goal margin and it'll most likely be tight again when we meet at Craven Cottage in November and Old Trafford in February.

Who's their main man? Dimitar Berbatov - given centre stage at the Cottage after his three-year stint at OT, the Bulgarian showman showcased his full repertoire of brilliance. Still a delight to watch in action.

Any interesting facts and figures? Roy Carroll's 'save' from Pedro Mendes against Spurs denied Martin Jol a win in his first clash with United, and he's still chasing it, stuck in a run of nine successive defeats against the Reds.


Premier League