Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday February 1 2013
This Saturday, with a late kick-off courtesy of live coverage by the satellite television company ESPN, Fulham have a chance to avenge the FA Cup defeat they suffered at the hands of Manchester United last Saturday. However, with Sir Alex Ferguson`s side clear by seven points at the top of the table, it will be some feat to stop this machine in its tracks, but we can but hope!
Although we came off second best, at Old Trafford, last week, Hugo Rodallega is optimistic that things will be different this time around, commenting in the Evening Standard,
"This is different because the team have more confidence. The win against West Ham makes this a different game."
"Manchester United are a big team, number one in the table, and I have respect for them. But if we play like we did against West Ham, it will be possible to get the win or a draw."
I sincerely hope so!
Martin Jol brought in a plethora of talent on transfer deadline day but it remains how many of the trio of Urby Emanuelson, Stanislav Manolev and Eyong Enoh will start. Another signing, Emmanuel Frimpong has also yet to make his first start as Martin Jol looks to implement the changes necessary to lift us up the table.
One player that will, unfortunately, be missing for Fulham this Saturday will be Dimitar Berbatov with the Bulgarian having picked up a hamstring injury in the win over West Ham on Wednesday.
It could be a busy afternoon for the Australian, let`s hope he`s up for it.
Sir Alex Ferguson`s side, boosted by the midweek win over Southampton that took them seven points clear at the top of the Premier League, will be boosted by the news that Jonny Evans is available again having recovered from injury.
However, one player will be missing and that is Ashley Young who has yet to recover from the knee injury that has side-lined him.
Also out will be Darren Fletcher who has undergone surgery on his bowel condition, our best wishes go to him for a speedy recovery.
A smart move by Sir Alex Ferguson, last summer, brought in a world class striker and one our defence will have to watch closely.
If Fulham are to offer Manchester City hope that they can retain their Premier League title, by taking something off of Manchester United this Saturday then we`ll have to buck the recent trend that has seen us not beat Manchester United in our last 7 meetings in all competitions with United winning 6 and drawing 1.
And as for meetings in the Premier League, Fulham have managed just 3 in 23 meetings!
Our officials for this fixture, under the steely glare of Alex Ferguson are:- Referee - K. Friend Assistant - S. Ledger Assistant - S. Burt Fourth Official - M. Oliver
After our humbling experience last Saturday, when we were tumbled rather emphatically out of the FA Cup by Manchester United, it`s hard to predict a Fulham win this Saturday. But it should be pointed out that it is something we have achieved previously. So, purely using that as an incentive, I`m not mad enough to suggest we can take all three points but I can`t see why we can`t take at least a point off of United.
After entertaining Manchester United, Fulham`s next Premier League game is a fixture against Norwich City, at Carrow Road, next weekend.
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Date:Friday February 1 2013
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