Your match preview: Fulham v United
It's another Premier League away day for Manchester United this week, as we take on Fulham at Craven Cottage.
With Manchester City, Leicester City and a whole host of clubs striving to overtake us at the summit of the table, getting back to winning ways on the road is a must after Sunday's draw with Liverpool.
But the home side have shown resilience recently after a difficult opening few months back in the top flight, and will be out to cause a shock...
HOW TO WATCH
The match at Craven Cottage kicks off at 20:15 GMT on Wednesday and will be broadcast live in the UK on BT Sport 1. You can follow all the action on ManUtd.com and in our Official App, where you can also track in-game data via our Match Centre. MUTV will also provide build-up, live radio commentary and post-match reaction, as well as showing full reruns of the game the following day. The Match Day Live programme on MUTV starts at 19:10 GMT.
Brandon Williams and Phil Jones are United’s only injury concerns, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may look to rotate his side ahead of Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Liverpool. For Fulham, Antonee Robinson and Bobby Decordova-Reid are suspended, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Aleksandar Mitrovic could return. Tom Cairney and Mario Lemina are doubts, after spending a month on the sidelines.
While United are out to equal a club-record run of 17 away games unbeaten in the Premier League, Fulham will be looking for just their second home win of the season. That success came against West Bromwich Albion back in November, as the Cottagers struggle to make an impact after promotion. Since losing to Everton later that month, however, they have discovered a new-found defensive solidity, surprising Leicester at the King Power and recording five successive draws – including a credible 1-1 with Liverpool – before the weekend defeat to Chelsea, to move to within four points of safety.
A COVID-19 outbreak among the squad has stalled progress somewhat in the new year, with the relegation clash against Burnley postponed, and the trip to Spurs rearranged at short notice, but Fulham arguably look best placed of the bottom three to mount a survival bid as we enter the second half of 2020/21.
This will be United’s 40th visit to Craven Cottage in all competitions and the Reds have come out on top in eight of our 14 Premier League trips to Fulham (the capital club played at QPR’s Loftus Road for two seasons between 2002 and 2004 while their home was redeveloped), with the Cottagers managing only a pair of back-to-back wins in 2009. Our last visit came in February 2019, when Paul Pogba’s double and a superb Anthony Martial strike helped us to a convincing 3-0 win – a 10th victory in Solskjaer’s first 11 games as caretaker.
WHO’S THE MANAGER?
This will be the first managerial meeting between Scott Parker and Solskjaer, but the pair became well-acquainted on the pitch during their playing days, with Parker turning out for Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham, Tottenham and Fulham in a distinguished playing career, which saw him win the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award in 2011 and appear 18 times for England, including at Euro 2012.
Parker retired in 2017 and joined the Cottagers’ backroom set-up the following year, as first-team coach under Slavisa Jokanovic. He succeeded Claudio Ranieri - the man who replaced the Serbian -with Fulham’s Premier League relegation all-but confirmed, in February 2019, and guided the Londoners back into the big time at the first available opportunity, as they defeated local rivals Brentford in the summer’s Championship play-off final at Wembley. Parker espouses an attacking, possession-based philosophy: despite their lowly position, Fulham have taken more touches in the final third than the likes of Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa this season.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa endured a difficult first two years at Fulham, with the Cameroon international in and out of the side that was relegated in 2018/19, before spending last campaign on loan with Villarreal. This time around, though, the former Marseille man has been a virtual ever-present for Parker’s side, playing a part in all 17 league games (15 starts) from central midfield and contributing two assists for the Cottagers. A strong dribbler – only Wolves’s Adama Traore has dribbled past more opponents – stats site WhoScored rank him as Fulham’s best-performing player in 2020/21, with an average rating of 7.24.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
VAR: Kevin Friend
Assistant VAR: Marc Perry
TUESDAY 19 JANUARY
West Ham v West Brom (18:00 GMT)
Leicester v Chelsea (20:15 GMT)
WEDNESDAY 20 JANUARY
Leeds v Southampton (Postponed)
Manchester City v Aston Villa (18:00 GMT)
Fulham v UNITED (20:15 GMT)
THURSDAY 21 JANUARY
Liverpool v Burnley (20:00 GMT)