Opposition Focus: Manchester United


03/02/19 – Leicester City 0-1 Man Utd
29/01/19 – Man Utd 2-2 Burnley
25/01/19 – Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (FA Cup)
19/01/19 – Man Utd 2-1 Brighton
13/01/19 – Tottenham 0-1 Man Utd


Manchester United play with a variation of a 4-3-3, but really the main item that matters is that this is a team that is playing with full confidence. Since taking over, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has empowered his players. As a result, they have taken advantage of the chemistry that was laying dormant during the Mourinho part of the season. Their style of play is one that is mesmerizing to watch because of how free the football is. From a numbers point of view, United have 13 total players with a goal to their name, not to mention their central midfielder in Paul Pogba is joint top-scorer with 9 goals. Everything United do in their attack circulates via Pogba, and he is then backed up by the likes of Matic and Herrera. Set that up with the “take your pick” of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or Romelu Lukaku – it’s just a baffling choice of who can score on any given day. 

Battle to Watch

Callum Chambers vs Paul Pogba: This is an incredibly difficult match-up for us as a team, let alone in individual spots. However, it will be a task for Chambers nonetheless. This will possibly prevent Chambers from getting up in the attack from counters because United like to counter with pace as well – and have proven to be much better at it. 

Danger Man

Not only does he have 9 goals, but Paul Pogba has 8 assists this season – that’s more than enough reason for him to be the Man United danger man. His play is unpredictable, his passing supreme and can split up any team (even one that plays 5 at the back) with a single threaded pass.

Last 5 Meetings

08/12/18 – Man Utd 4-1 Fulham (PL)
09/02/14 – Man Utd 2-2 Fulham (PL)
02/11/13 – Fulham 1-3 Man Utd (PL)
02/02/13 – Fulham 0-1 Man Utd (PL)
26/01/13 – Man Utd 4-1 Fulham (FA Cup)


Fulham wins 14
Draws 19
Man Utd wins 50

Stats & Facts

  • Fulham have failed to neither win or keep a clean sheet in any of the last 11 meetings with Manchester United in all competitions since a 3-0 Premier League victory at Craven Cottage in December 2009, goals courtesy of Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff.
  • The Whites, however, have lost 9 of those last 11 meetings with the Red Devils, and 18 of the last 22.
  • The Cottagers have lost their last 3 home games against United – conceding 9 goals in the process – but were unbeaten in the 3 home games immediately prior to this run.
  • The clubs met exactly five years ago on February 9th 2014, drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Darren Bent’s stoppage-time equaliser earned Rene Meulensteen’s Fulham a point after late goals from Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick had cancelled out Steve Sidwell’s first-half opener.
  • 11 of Fulham’s 14 victories over Man Utd have come at home.
  • Fulham have conceded exactly 2 goals in each of their last 5 games in all competitions

Players in Common

Peter Beardsley, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole, Larnell Cole, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jonathan Greening, David Healy, Charlie Mitten, Erik Nevland, Oliver Norwood, Peter O’Sullivan, Paul Parker, Kieran Richardson, Louis Saha, Chris Smalling, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Edwin Van Der Sar.

Magic Moment

Fulham 2-0 Man Utd 2008/09 – Gera overhead kick.

Now I know most people would say that the 3-0 victory the following season was a better result, but to me, this game and this moment, in particular, was far superior.

We’d been under pressure all game, despite being a man up for 75 minutes, and for us to counterattack the way we did and finish the game off with such a flurry was something else.

The shear release of joy and being able to breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when Zoltan put it past Van Der Sar was simply incredible. It was also one of the key moments of the 08/09 season. It gave us the belief that finishing 7th was a serious possibility if we were capable of putting in such a performance against the champions.

Opposition View (@robf5348)

Are Manchester United facing a period like Liverpool have faced for decades, where after complete dominance they have been overtaken by a new force? That now being Manchester City potentially?

I don’t think that United are facing a period like Liverpool have had for decades. Football has changed so much nowadays to the extent that I don’t think it will be possible for one team to dominate for such a long period of time as Utd did in the 90s, 00s and early 10s. Clubs change managers too often nowadays to maintain consistent dominance. After all, no team has retained the title since United did 3 in a row 10 years ago.

Does the near-perfect start Solskjaer has made come down to the fact that he has no pressure and nothing to lose as an interim boss or is he the real deal that deserves the job permanently?

Ole know Man United. That’s why he was able to change things so fast and why we’ve gone on such a good run of results at the moment. You could argue this is down to him not having any pressure on him but his tactical nous cannot be denied if you look at the performances against Spurs and Arsenal (both away from home too). Whether or not Ole gets the job will be decided over the next two months, with big games coming thick and fast and depending on how well we do in the Champions League. If we come through this period well and secure a Champions League place for next season, I think the Ole will be offered the job. If it does not go so smoothly and we do not react well to some losses then I think an approach to Mauricio Pochettino will be made.

Do you agree with Paul Ince that Paul Ince could’ve done the temporary manager job that OGS is doing?

No, I don’t agree with Paul Ince. He definitely couldn’t have done the same job Ole has done. Even on a basic level if you do not think that Ole has made a tactical impact and his impact is just down to the respect he has from the players, Paul Ince would not hold the same level of respect in the United dressing room, especially given he went on to play for Liverpool after his United career. Ince’s arrogance is laughable when you look at his managerial record.

Obviously, it’s all about top 4 now, the top 6 clubs pick themselves but which order do you predict them finishing in?

Top 6 prediction: 1) Man City, 2) Liverpool, 3) Spurs, 4) Man United, 5) Chelsea, 6) Arsenal

As a Utd fan, who would you rather see win the title, Liverpool or City and who do you consider Utd’s biggest rivals at present?

I’d prefer to see City winning the league to Liverpool. Liverpool fans would be unbearable if they win it! United’s biggest rivals have always been, and will always be Liverpool in my opinion.

How do you see the match panning out?

I see the game on Saturday going one of two ways: 1) If Fulham start well as they did against Spurs, they possess the attacking threat to get at United’s backline. That is one area that United still aren’t that strong. If Fulham start well and get an early goal I can see them getting at least a point out of the game, potentially the game taking a similar pattern the Fulham vs Spurs game a few weeks back. 2) If Fulham start as they did vs Brighton, United will take advantage of that and unlike Brighton, United have enough quality to finish the game off and not let Fulham back in. With the power and pace that Utd have up top, I would worry for the Fulham defence if United come fast out of the blocks.

Score prediction – Fulham 1-3 Man United

Predicted line-up – De Gea, Young, Jones, Lindelöf, Shaw, Matić, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.

Thanks to Man Utd supporter Robert Flynn for answering our questions.

Match Prediction

I consider myself a fairly optimistic person but I really have no idea how we are going to get anything out of this match. After being blanked by Crystal Palace last week, our heads just never came up – especially conceding the first goal to another defensive blunder. A lot of discussions was why didn’t we start the same formation and lineup as Brighton? The reality is, we switched to that 4-2-3-1 in the second half… and we somehow played worse than we did in the first half. Roy beat us tactically by giving our right wingbacks to cross the ball – and just dropping an extra defender to head balls clear. 

We were one-note in that second half, and unless things change drastically against Man United on Saturday, there’s just no chance of a positive result. Dropping ten men back, and hoping that Pogba and company won’t pick us apart is wishful thinking. 

Despite all that’s stacked against us, I am hailing the power of Craven Cottage to be a fortress, and we come out with an absolute grind of 90 minutes. Final score 3-3, with goals from Mitrovic, Odoi and Schurrle. COYW!!

Predicted Line-up