Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday February 28 2008
With our very survival in top flight football the subject of many a debate, I guess probably the last team you`d want to face when you know a result is needed are the current Champions, Manchester United. However, if salvation is to be our destiny then what better team to start to reverse our current trend of not winning than against Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United team!
The visits of Manchester United to Craven Cottage are always welcomed, there`s something quite unique about seeing the red of United pitted against our famous white shirts. Inevitably there will be a good atmosphere or as Simon Davies has put it, the place will be bouncing.
Or perhaps ma more succinct quote would come from your average football fan who`d quite happily scream from the rooftops,
You`ve got no chance chaps!
Roy Hodgson has pretty much a full squad to choose from, we believe that only Hameur Bouazza is unavailable through injury and, as far as we can recall only Andreasen is suspended.
Rumours have persisted all week that Hodgson has been practising using a front two of McBride and Nevland but that may just be a contingency plan with McBride set to start on his own up front.
It`ll be interesting to see how the likes of Hughes and Hangeland cope with the pace United have in abundance, hopefully there will be some respite with Sir Alex Ferguson having to think carefully about his team selection ahead of the crucial clash in the Champions League with Lyon.
After getting ninety minutes under his belt last weekend, the ageing international will be just that little sharper, just that little fitter and just that little more-honed when it comes to match fitness. Let`s hope he can score his first Premier League goal, since returning, against the formidable defensive partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic.
With Sir Alex contemplating who to rest ahead of his Champions League game with Lyon, there is a chance we may witness two Fulham old boys on show. Edwin van der Sar is likely to play in goal whilst Louis Saha may well feature up front.
The Dutch keeper played 154 times for Fulham whilst Saha made 143 appearances. Such is the wealth of talent at Ferguson`s disposal that it is virtually impossible to predict the United starting eleven. However, if Ferguson risks all his major stars it could jump up and bite him if they suffer injuries ahead of the Lyon game.
If, on the other hand, he makes wholesale changes, he could see points dropped. That`s why we may well have a chance folks.
The Portuguese winger has seen a remarkable change-around in his fortunes. After being vilified by the English public after his part in the Rooney sending off at the World Cup, he has quickly gone from zero to hero. His skills are sublime and his goal scoring feats are fast becoming the stuff legends are made of. Perhaps we should all hope that Sir Alex Ferguson has a brainstorm and decided to rest him ahead of United`s tricky Champions League clash with Lyon next week. Go on Alex, you know it makes sense!
Last season Manchester United committed highway robbery on their visit to Craven Cottage, it was one of those rare occasions when you seriously believed that we could beat them. Unfortunately, a superb individual goal by Cristiano Ronaldo saw United win late on in a 2-1 victory. It was to be a win that went a long way to ensuring they beat Chelsea to the title.
In fact if we were to win on Saturday it would be our first win over Manchester United in the Premier League. Indeed, the last time we actually beat Manchester United, at Craven Cottage, was way back on 5th September 1964.
In matches where we`re considered the home side, we don`t appear to be doing well at all with the current status being,
League (including Premier League): Fulham 8 wins, Man United 9 wins, Draws 10
Premier League only: Fulham 0 wins, Man United 3 wins, Draws 3
Mike Dean (Wirral) will be the man in charge!
Earlier this week we stuck up a poll asking if you thought we could get a win in this fixture. At the time of writing opinion is remarkably well split. However, there`s no doubt that if we are to win we`ll have to refrain from silly errors and restrict any time United`s player may have on the ball. So can we do it? My head initially says no whilst my heart bangs on about us pulling off a surprise. Therefore, whilst I normally always lean towards my optimistic nature this time I`m going to err on the side of caution and predict that, like Birmingham did last week with Arsenal, we`ll throw a spanner in the title ambitions of Manchester United by nicking a point in a 2-2 thriller. Anyone care to inform me of what the odds are for such a result?
There`s no let up in the tenacity and toughness of our fixtures, next up, next weekend are Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park!
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Date:Thursday February 28 2008
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