Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday March 13 2010
After the disappointment of the 3-1 defeat in Turin, to Juventus, Fulham now face a trip to Old Trafford to take on a Manchester United side that don`t, at the moment, appear capable of doing anything other than win.
When you consider our poor away form it looks, on paper, a fixture that we`ll not get much from but you just never know do you?
Ahead of the clash Sir Alex Ferguson, the daddy of all football managers, has offered praise to Roy Hodgson, remarking,
"Fulham has been a remarkable story. Roy has brought his experience and authority to the club. He has formed a team that nobody likes playing against."
Recognition from the top, now that can`t be bad!
Manchester United have quite a lengthy injury list with the following all unavailable - Andersen, Hargreaves, Brown, Giggs, O`Shea, Owen and De Laet. Michael Carrick is available after serving a suspension. But their strength in depth will ensure that the eleven we face will prove to be formidable opposition.
Would it be asking too much for the top scorer in English football to wake up with a stomach bug? Seriously, this lad is on fire and he`ll create all sorts of problems - if we let him!
After the defeat in Turin, it`ll be interesting to see if Roy Hodgson rings the changes for the trip to Old Trafford. Danny Murphy, who missed the game last weekend through injury might be fit enough to start and Roy could well be tempted to start with Clint Dempsey after the American made his return from injury in the second half in Turin.
Definitely out are Andrew Johnson and John Pantsil.
We expect Fulham to line up as follows:-
Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Gera, Dempsey and Zamora
After paying millions for the services of Chris Smalling, I wonder if Sir Alex ever contemplated bidding for our giant Norwegian defender. It`ll be interesting to see if Brede can keep a rampant United side at bay!
Our record at Old Trafford isn`t very good. In our last fourteen attempts we`ve won only once, fourteen attempts that span forty-seven years with that win coming in October 2003 when we won 3-1.
Our last five visits to Old Trafford have seen us beaten every time. However, having won our last two Premier League fixtures over United (both at Craven Cottage) wouldn`t a hat trick of wins against them, on the trot, be great?
Mike Jones is the referee aided and abetted by two assistants in the shape of John Flynn and Mick McDonough with Mike Dean acting as the fourth official.
You`d have to be living with your head in the clouds to be prepared to proudly announce to the wide world that Fulham will go to Old Trafford and shock the defending champions, especially when our away form leaves so much to be desired. But, if everything clicks into place there is a possibility that we could frustrate United, defend solidly and come back with a point, even if United will be looking for revenge for the thrashing we handed out earlier this season.
Our next Premier League fixture will see us entertain Manchester City.
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Date:Saturday March 13 2010
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