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Premier League

  • 21 December 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 25700
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Fulham - Manchester United Preview: Champions look to maintain title push with a seventh away win

Fulham - Manchester United Preview: Champions look to maintain title push with a seventh away win

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be out to record another victory on their Premier League travels this term as they aim to maintain the pressure on City at the top of the table


PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Stockdale
Baird, Senderos, Hangeland, JA Riise
Ruiz, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey
Johnson, Dembele

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Smalling, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Nani
Rooney, Hernandez

Fulham boss Martin Jol could be set to name an unchanged lineup following his team's impressive 2-0 home win against Bolton at the weekend. Bobby Zamora could well have to settle for a place on the bench once more, even if he recovers from a knee knock.

David Stockdale will again deputise for regular first-choice goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who is still five weeks away from a return, while long-term injury victim Zdenek Grygera misses out.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will again have to do without the services of long-term absentees Anderson, Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher as well Tom Cleverley, Michael Owen and Fabio. Right-back Rafael could well feature after an injury lay-off.

The visitors are likely to keep the number of changes to a minimum but could well opt to recall Javier Hernandez in place of Danny Welbeck. Phil Jones is again likely to partner Michael Carrick in the heart of midfield.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Fulham have only won four of their last 16 Premier League matches so far this season, drawing six and losing the other six.
  • They have managed to find the back of the net in each of their last seven Premier League matches.
  • The Cottagers last home win against Sir Alex's side was back in the 2009/10 season, when they beat them 3-0.
  • Smalling (pictured right) only made 19 appearances for Fulham before he completed his £10 million to Manchester United in 2010.
  • Manchester United have won their last four Premier League away matches, all without conceding a goal.
  • United have won seven of their last 22 Premier League games in London.
  • The Red Devils have only conceded three goals so far this season in their eight away league matches.
  • United’s top league goalscorer is Rooney, who took his tally to 11 Premier League goals with his goal against QPR at the weekend.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13David StockdaleGoalkeeper
3John Arne RiiseDefender
5Brede HangelandDefender
6Chris BairdDefender
14Philippe SenderosDefender
13Danny MurphyMidfielder
20Dickson EtuhuMidfielder
30Mousa DembeleStriker
8Andy JohnsonStriker
11Bryan RuizStriker
2Clint DempseyStriker
38Neil EtheridgeGoalkeeper
2Stephen KellyDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
15Marcel GecovMidfielder
16Damien DuffMidfielder
21Kerim FreiMidfielder
25B. ZamoraStriker
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
35Ezekiel FryersDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
Players to Watch
Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Ruiz
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
After a slow start, the former FC Twente attacker is starting to find his feet in English football. He netted a fine goal in Fulham’s 2-0 win against Bolton and will be keen to impress against the current Premier League champions. Ruiz provides the Cottagers with some much needed guile and skill which could prove troublesome for United’s backline.

His manager will be hoping his big-money attacker can get on a goalscoring run to help the Londoners climb up the Premier League table over the festive period. The Costa Rica international has the ability to drop deep and link-up play.
Phil Jones
Phil Jones
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The swashbuckling youngster has arguably been Manchester United’s standout player this season. The England international cost the Red Devils £16m in the summer when he joined from Blackburn Rovers, and he has lived up to the price tag.

After initially playing as a centre-back and right-back, Jones has moved forward due to United’s injury crisis to play in central midfield. His movement and drive has handed Sir Alex some energy in the middle of the park and his sparkling displays have caught the eye.
Prediction
Fulham are usually tough to beat at home and go into the game full of confidence after winning their last two league matches at Craven Cottage. However, United are in fine form in the Premier League themselves. The Red Devils' backline has tightened up while forward players such as Nani, Antonio Valencia and Rooney look to be hitting some excellent form. United should have too much going forward for Fulham to deal with and are likely to record another away win.
Editor's Prediction
Fulham 1

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