Manchester United - Fulham Preview: Visitors aiming for first win at Old Trafford since 2003
The Red Devils have both form and history on their side, having not lost to the Cottagers at home for 10 years, while they also currently boast a 13 match unbeaten domestic streak
By Tim Poole
Rafael, Jones, Vidic, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani
Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson
Duff, Karagounis, Sidwell, Kacaniklic
Sir Alex Ferguson is still without midfielder Darren Fletcher (bowel surgery), while Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee) will not be involved.
In defence, Rio Ferdinand could feature, although Sir Alex may take the opportunity to rest one of his regular central defenders with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling returning to fitness.
The hosts may also look to rest goalkeeper David De Gea after an extended run of league games for the Spanaird, while he also has the options of using Danny Welbeck, Chicharito and Shinji Kagawa in attacking roles.
The visitors, meanwhile, will be without Simon Davies (neck) and Kerim Frei (groin) while Mahamadou Diarra is not expected to be fit for another week.
Martin Jol can, however, boast numerous attacking options as winger Ashkan Dejagah and strikers Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega are also in contention.
Kieran Richardson is likely to continue at left-back, although Jol can alternatively choose to restore the out-of-favour John Arne Riise to the starting line-up.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester United are currently on a 10-match unbeaten streak in in all competitions, while they have not lost in 13 matches domestically.
- The Red Devils have won the FA Cup a record 11 times. The last time they won the competition was in 2004.
- Sir Alex Ferguson's side have also scored the highest amount of goals in the Premier League (57) this season, with striker Robin van Persie leading the scorers charts with 18.
- Manchester United's record defeat in the FA Cup was a 7-1 loss to Burnley in the first round in Februrary 1901.
- Martin Jol has never beaten Sir Alex Ferguson in his managerial career.
- Fulham have won just twice in 12 Premier League away games this term and needed extra-time to overcome Championship side Blackpool in the last round.
- Fulham have also lost 31 of their 36 visits to Old Trafford, drawing three times and winning just twice. Since their last victory in 2003, United have won the fixture nine consecutive times.
- The Cottagers' top-scorer this season, Dimitar Berbatov (pictured) has scored seven goals this campaign. Saturday's game will be the Bulgarian's first visit to Old Trafford since leaving Manchester United for Fulham in the summer.
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Top 3 Predictions
Man Utd. 3-1 Fulham
- 19.98 %
Man Utd. 3-0 Fulham
- 18.23 %
Man Utd. 2-0 Fulham
- 13.09 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 9, 2014||Man Utd. 2 - Fulham 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 2, 2013||Fulham 1 - Man Utd. 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 2, 2013||Fulham 0 - Man Utd. 1|
|England - FA Cup (FA)||Jan 26, 2013||Man Utd. 4 - Fulham 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Aug 25, 2012||Man Utd. 3 - Fulham 2|
|Mar 8, 2014||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Man Utd. 3||EPL|
|Feb 25, 2014||Olympiakos Piraeus 2 - Man Utd. 0||UCL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Crystal Palace 0 - Man Utd. 2||EPL|
|Feb 12, 2014||Arsenal 0 - Man Utd. 0||EPL|
|Feb 9, 2014||Man Utd. 2 - Fulham 2||EPL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|14||Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez||Striker|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
|Robin van Persie|
Words do not do the Dutchman justice when he is in this kind of form. The 29-year-old has been the difference in the title race thus far and will most likely prove the difference again on Saturday. If Fulham aren't watertight at the back, most of United's fantasy football attack will look to get involved but Van Persie is more likely than most to get his fill.
Rarely do Fulham rely on anyone more than the Bulgarian striker and his performance will be especially scrutinised at Old Trafford - his hunting ground for four years. Even when he is not scoring, the 31-year-old is involved, having now grown accustomed to a deeper role at Craven Cottage. And if Fulham want to do some giant-killing, Berbatov will have to deliver a giant performance.
Manchester United are red hot favourites going into the tie, with recent form, history and sheer firepower on their side. Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his desire to re-carve the Red Devils' name on the FA Cup trophy and will surely pick a side too strong for Martin Jol's men.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed