Fulham v United: Your essential match preview
Manchester United face a second away game in a row as we travel to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in the weekend’s early kick-off in the Premier League.
That victory was our fourth Premier League away win in succession and a fifth in all competitions since Ole took caretaker charge of the team.
The Reds ran out 4-1 winners in December’s clash with the Cottagers and three points against Claudio Ranieri’s side this time around would, at least temporarily, lift us into the top four.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game…
The game kicks off at 12:30 GMT on Saturday and will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK. Subscribers to MUTV will be able to enjoy live build-up to the match from 11:00 GMT in the 'Match Day' programme, while you can also follow our coverage of the match on ManUtd.com and in the Official App, which you can download here.
WHAT'S THE TEAM NEWS?
Solskjaer told the media on Friday that Marcos Rojo has trained all week, but Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian will be out for a couple of weeks with what Ole described as
“niggles”. With a busy schedule coming up, the caretaker manager could be tempted to rotate his squad on Saturday, especially given the huge clash against Paris Saint-Germain next week. United also face Chelsea and Liverpool later this month before the return leg against PSG at the start of March.
Claudio Ranieri’s side, who are second from bottom in the Premier League, will have Cyrus Christie and Andre Schurrle available for Saturday’s game. Full-back Christie was withdrawn in the second half of last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, while former Chelsea forward Schurrle missed out altogether through injury. Of course, defender Tim Fosu-Mensah is ineligible to play against his parent club, as he is on loan from the Reds. Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and centre-back Alfie Mawson are long-term absentees. Ranieri also told the media on Thursday that January signings Lazar Markovic and Havard Nordtveit won’t be fit enough to start but could be involved after training this week.
HOW ARE THEY GETTING ON?
Fulham lost 2-0 against Palace last week, their fifth defeat in the last six. However, the Cottagers have been more reliable at home in recent weeks and have won two of the last three league games at the Cottage, with the one loss coming at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in the dying seconds. Fulham overcame a two-goal deficit in their last home match and emerged as 4-2 winners against Brighton in a real thriller. Despite sitting 19th in table with 17 points from 25 games, there have been signs of a revival from Fulham recently, something United must be wary of on Saturday.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been the main man for Fulham this season, scoring 10 goals in 25 Premier League games. The striker joined the Cottagers on loan from Newcastle United last year and helped fuel their late surge up the Championship table, which ultimately saw them gain promotion. Mitrovic made the switch permanent in the summer and has since been a colossal presence up front for Ranieri’s men. The 24-year-old has scored in all four of Fulham’s league wins this season and, without his goals, the west London club would be 10 points worse off in the table.
WHAT’S OUR RECORD LIKE AGAINST FULHAM?
We have previously faced Fulham on 83 occasions, the first of which took place in 1905. Over the years, United have enjoyed the clashes with the Cottagers, winning 50 of the past meetings, drawing 19 and losing just 14. In the Premier League era, the Reds have also won 19 of the 27 games against Saturday’s opponents. This is our first trip to Craven Cottage since 2013, when we won 3-1 thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Paul Tierney will oversee proceedings at Craven Cottage on Saturday. The 23-year-old has been in charge of two United matches this season, both of which we won 2-1. The first game was our trip to Bournemouth in November and the latter was our victory against Brighton three weeks ago. Eddie Smart and Mick McDonough are Tierney’s assistants, while Graham Scott will assume the role of fourth official.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SCORE WILL BE?
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We kick off another huge weekend of Premier League football that, as usual, sees 10 games spread across three days. Here’s the full schedule…
SATURDAY 9 FEBRUARY
Fulham v Manchester United (12:30 GMT)
Crystal Palace v West Ham United
Huddersfield Town v Arsenal
Liverpool v Bournemouth
Southampton v Cardiff City
Watford v Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley (17:30 GMT)
SUNDAY 10 FEBRUARY
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City (13:30 GMT)
Manchester City v Chelsea (16:00 GMT)
MONDAY 11 FEBRUARY
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United (20:00 GMT)
Matches kick off at 15:00 GMT unless stated.
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