Opposition Focus: Manchester United


05/12/18 – Man Utd 2-2 Arsenal
01/12/18 – Southampton 2-2 Man Utd
27/11/18 – Man Utd 1-0 Young Boys
24/11/18 – Man Utd 0-0 Palace
11/11/18 – Man City 3-1 Man Utd


Jose Mourinho has shuffled both his team selection and formation in the last few matches both due to a defensive injury crisis and an attempt to coax some better performances out of his players. United have tended to go for a back three against equal or superior opposition this season – as they did against both Spurs and Arsenal at home – but it would be a surprise not to see a back four deployed on Saturday. Trying to define the style of United is difficult as they do not have an obviously discernable plan like City, Spurs, Chelsea or Liverpool, and their game plan often relies on moments of individual quality or goals from set pieces. With our weakness with balls into the box, we see Marouane Fellaini start in order to expose this area of our game.

Battle to Watch

Rashford vs Mawson: Despite us showing signs of defensive improvement in the three games since the arrival of Ranieri, it’s impossible to deny the defence is still vulnerable when placed under pressure. With Marcus Rashford looking very lively in the last few United games, he will present the biggest danger to our back line on Saturday afternoon. If Alfie Mawson is able to reduce Rashford’s influence on the game and not allow himself to be exposed for pace in wider areas, then we may have a chance of gaining some much-needed points.

Danger Man

In all of United’s best league performances, this season Antony Martial has been crucial in providing the flair and attacking output to secure the points. His electric pace and dribbling ability, combined with great composure in front of goal makes him a daunting prospect for opposition defences. With Alexis Sanchez out until at least January with injury, Martial has a chance in the next few games to cement his place for the rest of the season. Our best option has to be to force him wide and not allow him the chance to cut back inside and shoot on goal.

Last 5 Meetings

09/02/14 – Man United 2-2 Fulham (PL)
02/11/13 – Fulham 1-3 Man United (PL)
02/02/13 – Fulham 0-1 Man United (PL)
26/01/13 – Man United 4-1 Fulham (FA Cup)
25/08/12 – Man United 3-2 Fulham (PL)


Fulham wins 14
Draws 19
Man Utd wins 49

Stats & Facts

  • The clubs have met on 82 occasions in all competitions – Fulham have won 14, Manchester United have won 49 and there have been 19 draws.
  • Fulham have failed to win any of the last 10 meetings with Manchester United in all competitions since a 3-0 Premier League victory at Craven Cottage in December 2009 courtesy of goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff.
  • The Whites, however, have lost 8 of those last 10 meetings with the Red Devils, and 17 of the last 21.
  • Fulham have drawn 1 and lost 11 of their last 12 trips to Old Trafford in all competitions since the Cottagers’ memorable 3-1 in October 2003 when Lee Clark, Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto were on target for Chris Coleman’s visiting side.
  • The last meeting – the 2-2 Premier League draw at Old Trafford in February 2014 – was notable for featuring 4 men who played for both clubs. Chris Smalling started for the hosts while Kieran Richardson and Ryan Tunnicliffe began the game for the Whites. With ten minutes remaining, Larnell Cole came on for his only Fulham appearance, having previously made just 1 appearance in his time at United.
  • The clubs met at Old Trafford exactly 84 years ago on December the 8th 1934 with Manchester United prevailing 1-0 thanks to George Mutch’s goal.

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

Although our best result at Old Trafford during our last spell in the Premier League was the 2-2 draw in the 13/14 season, the game that really stands out is our first ever Premier League fixture in August 2001. Having waited so long to be back in the top flight – to be going to United on the opening day was an incredible and surreal experience. As if to test whether anyone could believe what was happening, Louis Saha took down a long ball out of defence in the fourth minute of the game with his left and then with his next touch, chipped the keeper from outside the area to spark mayhem in the away end. Another goal from the future United player wasn’t enough to get us any points as we eventually succumbed to a quick-fire double from Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Although we didn’t get anything from the game, it was hard to escape the feeling that we had a arrived in the big time. If Saturday can produce any similar memories then it will be a day to remember all over again.

Opposition View (@liam_feaviour)

At present, the football is boring and the results are poor. It’s often mentioned that the Mourinho approach isn’t the Man Utd way. What is more important to the fans. Being entertained and being top 4 or being boring but winning trophies?

For me personally, being entertained and top 4 is all I ask. I would take just being entertained in all honesty. I think it varies from fan to fan, some would take the winning with boring football to stop City’s success, some just want the ‘United way’ and to see the players we have play to their potential. At the moment though, we don’t have the best of either of those worlds. We have dull football and don’t look like being near the top 4, which is what causes such frustration, especially when you see the other clubs up the top scoring goals for fun as well.

What can Mourinho do to save his job at this stage or is it a foregone conclusion that he’s on his way soon?

This is a tough one. I think if he had a solid CL run to maybe the quarters and rescued the Top 4, he’d probably stay on. For me though, it seems a foregone conclusion he’ll be gone at the end of the season at the latest. If he doesn’t make the Top 4, I can’t see the club sticking with him. It happened to Moyes and Van Gaal because the club needs the stature of playing in the CL. Winning the FA Cup didn’t even rescue Van Gaal, so I don’t think even that would make a difference this season.

If Mourinho were to be replaced tomorrow, who would you have and why?

It’d have to be Pochettino. He’s done wonders with Spurs, without being able to spend anywhere near the level of the other clubs in the Top 6. He’s shown he improves players as well, at Southampton and Spurs and the prospect of players like Martial and Rashford being coached by him just gets me excited.

What have you made of Fulham this year?

I’ve been a bit up and down with Fulham this season. I thought it was harsh to sack Jokanovic, I thought he deserved more time. He was building a team there and getting them to gel and the way the table is, I don’t think it was necessary to pull the trigger then, especially as he’s shown before he can turn a team round during a season. They clearly seem to have become more stable already under Ranieri and I’m sure he’ll keep them up and they have a guy in Mitrovic who will score 15-20 this season as well. The return of Tom Cairney is massive I think, every time I watch him he impresses me and I think his layoff was a part of the reason they struggled so much to start with as well as the obvious defensive issues.

Score prediction: 2-1 United

Predicted Line-up: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Matic, Pogba, Lingard; Mata, Martial, Lukaku.

Match Prediction

Difficult to predict exactly what will happen due to both our own improvements and United’s lack of consistency, but there is definitely a chance we could come away with something just like Wolves and Palace, despite our poor away record this season.

Predicted Line-up