MX23RW : Friday, February 26 04:35:23| >> :120:15214:15214:
Jan 20, 2021 at 8.15pm UK at Craven Cottage
FulhamFulham
1-2
Man UtdManchester United
Lookman (5')
Zambo Anguissa (12'), Bryan (62'), Aina (69')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Cavani (21'), Pogba (65')
Pogba (10')

Preview: Fulham vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Fulham and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester United can ensure that they will occupy top spot in the Premier League table at the halfway stage of their season when they take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.

The Red Devils drew 0-0 with champions Liverpool on Sunday night to keep hold of first place, and they face a Fulham side without a Premier League win to their name since November.


Match preview

Manchester United's Paul Pogba in action with Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum in the Premier League on January 17, 2021© Reuters

Not for the first time this season, a hugely-anticipated and heavily-billed big game failed to live up to the hype on Sunday as Liverpool and Manchester United played out a largely dull and uneventful goalless draw at Anfield.

While the result arguably benefitted Manchester City more than either of the teams involved, Man United would have undoubtedly been the happier of the two sides on Merseyside as they hung on to top spot in the Premier League table and came through what on paper is their biggest test of the season relatively unscathed.

It is a sign of their changing mindset and ambition that they came away from Anfield with a tinge of disappointment too; a point at the home of the champions would have been gleefully accepted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had he been offered it before the match, but his side created the two biggest chances and, but for Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal, could have become the first visiting team to win a league game at Anfield since April 2017.

Even more importantly, it could have lifted them six points clear of the champions and maintained the four-point gap to Manchester City and Leicester City, but as it stands those two teams are now only two points adrift.

Indeed, with both of them in action before Man United in midweek it could be that Solskjaer's side arrive at Craven Cottage sitting third in the table, but the very fact that they are still in the mix - and could guarantee top spot after 19 games of their season with victory - must be taken as an unexpected positive for the 20-time champions.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pictured on January 1, 2021© Reuters

Plenty of teams have led the way before falling away in what is developing into one of the most competitive Premier League seasons ever, and the challenge for Man United now is to stay on top.

Key to doing that will be to maintain their away form; the draw at Anfield means that Man United have now gone more than a year without losing a top-flight away game, and should they avoid defeat on Wednesday then they would equal their club-record of 17 consecutive Premier League games on the road without defeat.

This season alone Man United are the only team yet to lose on the road and have picked up the most points and scored the most goals on their travels, so they will make the trip to West London full of belief that they will extend what is now a 12-game unbeaten run in the league.

The Red Devils have won their last four top-flight away games against Fulham by an aggregate score of 12-1 and are unbeaten in their last eight top-flight meetings with promoted sides, scoring 25 goals in that time.

The odds seem stacked against Fulham, then, and even more so given that they are currently on a seven-game winless run which stretches back to the end of November.

Fulham's Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on January 13, 2021© Reuters

That only tells half of the story, though; in that time Fulham have taken points off Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, while their only defeats have been against Manchester City and Chelsea, the latter of which came on Saturday after they were forced to play the majority of that West London derby with 10 men.

Scott Parker may be justified in thinking that his side would have got something out of that game had they kept 11 men on the pitch, but discipline has been an issue this season, with Antonee Robinson's red card the third they have picked up in the league so far in 2020-21 - no team has had more.

Goalscoring is also a growing concern; while Fulham have tightened things up at the back significantly as the season has progressed, conceding just three times in their last four outings, they have also only scored three times in their last seven top-flight games.

Indeed, the Cottagers have now drawn blanks in each of their last three home league games since earning a draw against Liverpool and could go four top-flight home games without finding the back of the net for the first time since December 1961.

The improvement at the back means that Fulham have been able to pick up regular points despite that, though, and while weekend wins for both Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion dealt another blow to their survival hopes, the gap to safety is still an entirely-assailable four points.

Fulham Premier League form: DDDDDL
Fulham form (all competitions): DDDWDL

Manchester United Premier League form: WDWWWD
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWLWWD



Team News

Fulham's Antonee Robinson is shown a red card against Chelsea on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Robinson's rash challenge in the West London derby means that he will miss Fulham's next three matches through suspension, with Joe Bryan set to deputise on the left.

Tom Cairney, Mario Lemina and Terence Kongolo also remain sidelined for Parker's men, but there is likely to be better news elsewhere.

Aleksandar Mitrovic should be available again after only narrowly missing out at the weekend, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in contention after being forced to sit out against his parent club.

Manchester United have a relatively clean bill of health, with Brandon Williams, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo - all of whom have been linked with moves away from the club anyway - the only absentees.

Solskjaer faces an interesting selection dilemma as to whether to shuffle his pack knowing that another showdown with Liverpool - this time in the FA Cup - awaits at the weekend.

The Premier League remains the priority, particularly now that his side find themselves in a title race, so wholesale changes are not likely, but there could be some tinkering to keep legs fresh.

Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles are among the players pushing for a start after missing out on the XI at Anfield.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Tete, Cordova-Reid, Reed, Anguissa, Bryan; Cavaleiro, Lookman

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani


SM words green background

We say: Fulham 0-1 Manchester United

In stark contrast to the early stages of the season, Fulham are a very difficult team to beat now and they rarely concede a lot of goals. They rarely score them either, though, and that could cost them again here.

The Cottagers are winless in their last 11 league meetings with Man United and, considering the form Solskjaer's side have been in away from home, it is difficult to see that run ending on Wednesday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:431079:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Fulham vs Man Utd

Fulham
8.2%
Draw
12.1%
Manchester United
79.8%
257
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Liverpool's Joel Matip celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on December 6, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City25185250153559
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd25147453322149
3Leicester CityLeicester25154644271749
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham25136639291045
5Chelsea25127641251643
6Liverpool25117745341140
7Everton2412483733440
8Aston Villa23113937261136
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs24106837271036
10Leeds UnitedLeeds25112124343035
11Arsenal25104113126534
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2596102632-633
13Crystal Palace2595112943-1432
14Southampton2586113143-1230
15Burnley2577111830-1228
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2551192632-626
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2574142643-1725
18Fulham25410112132-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2528151955-3614
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2532201541-2611

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