Fulham v Man Utd: Preview

It’s Fulham today and United would look to put goals past the Cottagers and ensure the all important three points. Arsenal will be playing Villa at the same time.

So let’s get our preview in as soon as we can as we lead you up to the match.

Not much in the way of team news really, apart from Giggs missing out with a calf injury. However, iron-man Vidic is fit and it’s good to know that his limping around in the Newcastle game was nothing to be worried about — iron-man, that he is. While still on injuries, Easter Island Head is looking to return to the side soon. It’s a good thing that Evra has been relatively injury free and Silly has been out for a long time. He’s a decent squad player, but he’s also been a disaster waiting to happen. Anyway, we always respect our players, and we’ll do so to EIH too.

Meanwhile, there has been no mention of Neville picking up another injury. So I will knock on every splinter of wood in my house and keep my fingers crossed on this one. As an aside, would too much wood-knocking and finger-crossing cross out each other and jinx Neville? We’ll have to wait and see. So watch this space as we keep you updated with more on the Neviller’s anatomy.

On the team composition, we’d expect our ‘fab-four’ at the back with Nani and Ronaldo on the wings. I say Ronaldo because SAF may not take any games lightly from now on. He will play Ronaldo in Fulham, and he will play him against Lyon, in midweek. And Anderson and Carrick would play in central midfield. Scholes and Hargreaves (although I am uneasy about that combination) would play in midweek. Right, so that’s enough sticking-my-neck-out material penned for the day.

About our front two, I am not as certain. Rooney and Tevez is as good as any strike partnerships go but there is a possibility that a fit-looking (or fit-sounding?) Saha might be in the mix somewhere. SAF may have the temptation to play Rooney and Saha for this one. It’s just my hunch — betting people, mind, it’s rather unreliable, that hunch of mine.

About the pre-match banter forced on the managers (and on us) by the kind folk at Sky and Setanta, there has been some talk about SAF’s admiration for Roy Hodgson’s accumulated frequent flier miles and how his constant shifting from one club/country to another may have found favour with airline companies.

Oh well, it’s time for me to stick my neck out once more and give my all important prediction.

Prediction: 2-0 to United — Ronaldo and Rooney to score.

The frequent flier miles and finding favour with airline companies bit was made up by me, in case some of you hadn’t noticed.

115 Comments

  1. a comfortable win! I did wonder at times why VDS was coming out and completley missing crosses when he had his defense to deal with things… maybe he was bored?
    Real shame Arsenal got a last minute equaliser but we are so close now…
    Oh and poor Newcastle haha, can we have Alan Smith back?

  2. heartbreak….how do they always manage to score in the last minute of the game…arseholes…neways…clearly the confidence is flowing in Manchester than in London..good MU quality football on display today…

  3. 1 point away. Gutted Arsenal scored in the last minute but hey im sure all of you would have taken a draw for arsenal at the start of the game. it is still 2 points dropped, AND no win in 4 now for arsenal

  4. im thinking, is it not better us being a point behind then it is being top only on GD? there would be less pressure on the arse, now, being a point behind, they are nervous and the pressure is on them, more pressure=more mistakes which= more goals conceded.

  5. We got the best attack record back. Let’s go. Fuck the Arse, what’s one point? We still have to face them right? Confident performance, wonderful man management. Beautiful stuff. No complaints!!

  6. More tinkering from Fergie but out squad has so much quality we can beat lower table sides with only half our full team. That bodes well for the rest of the season as we’ll avoid a situation like Milan where our players were too tired to compete.

  7. I just looked at our results this season, and this is only Uniteds second game this season that we score only 3 goals! The other one was against Spurs in FA Cup. And Three different scorers too(!), that is amazing. Only one point behind now, wehave a great chance of winning our trophy…THE PREMIER LEAGUE!

  8. James F; You know I was having the same thought. If I wasn’t sure of this I’d say old Scholesy and Park both are avid readers of REDRANTS. All my negative comments about their play seemed to have motivated the heck out of them today. So I’ll take the credit thank you very much. Grognard is the Man of the Match for his interesting and very successful motivational techniques.

    Now back to planet Earth. This was a very good performance by the side minus many starters.
    They proved they could play most of the game without Rooney and Ronaldo but lets remember, it was only Fulham. With that said, certain players stepped up and performed very well. Therefore, here are my match ratings for the day. 1-10 with 10 meaning Superb.

    van der Sar – 6/10 – Never really got tested but had some moments of stupidity where he punched out a ball he could easily have caught and also being caught out a few times.

    O’Shea – 8/10 – Not much else you can ask from this player. Put him anywhere and he turns in a workmanlike performance. Unspectacular but very very steady and sure of himself.

    Brown – 7/10 – Unspectacular but very sure and did a good job of marking as well as clearing the ball.

    Rio – 7/10 – Rio is Rio. Steady as a rock and leading the way. Never had much to do although he made a few poor clearances that never cost us.

    Evra – 7/10 – Nice runs down the line but he still cannot cross a ball. Defended well and never let anybody get past him or cross a meaningful ball into the box.

    Park – 8/10 – Always has a lot of energy but today his first touch didn’t betray him like in the past. His header was a nice surprise. He looks to be match fit finally which is a bonus.

    Scholes – 9/10 – OK OK he was the man of the match and showed everyone what has been missing for a season now. His willingness to attack and go forward. He sent more long balls that met their target today than he has in his last 15 games combined. He was also unlucky with some stupid fouls being called against him as he was aggressive today. Nice ball in to Park for goal number 2. Now can he do it two games in a row? He can’t start every game but every now and then some of the old magic shows. Again, lets not forget that this was Fulham he exploited.

    Hargreaves – 8/10 – A very professional and competent display of marking and transition to offense. His free kick goal only strengthens my argument that he should take all the short free kicks for the team because he is that good at it. A sublime goal and a great effort all game long.

    Nani – 8/10 – Made a meal of Stalteri all day. He is really coming in to his own and the confidence and beautiful dribbling is now more evident than ever. Imagine what kind of a player he will be in two seasons.

    Tevez – 6/10 – Always works hard but he just is invisible at times without Rooney to play off of. Never really inspired today and missed a gimme header setup by Saha.

    Saha – 7/10 – Perhaps many will think that I have given Louis a high grade but he worked hard and was good on the ball. Setup Tevez with what should have been a goal and trapped some long balls sent to him beautifully. Only thing that is missing is his finishing which was poor and the fact that he still needs to find himself more in the box. His effort was good and promising though.

    Rooney – 6/10 – Not much time to really impose himself on the game but he worked hard as usual and found space. His first touch betrayed every time though.

    Ronaldo – 6-10 – Like Rooney not much time to do much. Was nimble but I’m not so big a fan of his more central role these days. I like him wide and cutting in. He seems too goal hungry trying a few speculative long shots where a pass to another was the smarter play.

    Anderson – ???? – Just not enough time to judge.

    A good performance and a bright show for players who needed to show us more. Robnaldo and Rooney got some rest and Vidic and Giggs should be ready for Tuesday. Now if only Arsenal would know their damned role and lose a game they deserve to lose. They have been unbelievable in the BPL. They just don’t lose games. All those single points from draws may hurt us at the end because we gave away some games completely this season. Now lets finish of Lyon.

  9. Ferguson remarked: ‘I see it was the 95th minute of their usual seven minutes’ injury time.’

    hahaha i agree but we have nicked a couple this season as well.

  10. Anybody noticed that for 20min our play was poor at the start of the second half?

    I know i’m fickle, but there wasn’t much possession play at that time.

    Didn’t watch the 1st half though. Guess I lost most of the entertainment.

  11. Ok lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Hargreaves scoring one freekick doesn’t just write off 18m worth of transfer fees and if he was so solid in defense where was he when Murphy had that great shot that VDS came to the rescue on. Scholes played exactly the same as he has all season with only one difference, he was playing the ball forward as soon as he got it instead of sideways and backwards. It was also nice to see him making forward runs. In no way is he past it but he has to stay in a forward mindset and not just hold up play but create and drive the team forward. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

  12. sorry please stop, you proved my point, hargreaves got forward more and murphy almost scored, and to be honest carrick cost 18mil and he only proved his worth recently, hargreaves has played a big part in are defence not conceding goals, wow, you complain when he gets back, you complain when he gets forward, he scored a blimmin free-kick(which ronny wouldn’t) yet he can do no good, get your head out your ass and face the fact that he is a world class player and your just fickle. Fuck sake.

  13. You know what,we shouldnt even be fighting for our league title.Our squad is far superior to arsenals.They are going to play the same squad till the end of the season.It doesnt work and it will show.Does anyone else notice rooneys touch,cause to me it just isnt right.Scholes looked back to his technical best.I knew he would get it.Scholes is class…

  14. Now im blank about the lyon game.Carricks on form,scholes looks good,hargo too.Andys been brilliant.No idea.

  15. DAN; Regarding Hargreaves, well said mate. The lad is world class and some pillocks out there need to wake up and smell the coffee. Where was he when Murphy had his shot? Jeez Liam he can’t frakken cover everyone at the same time. Perhaps you should point your finger at someone else for missing Murphy.

    Big question for Tuesday. Who starts between Scholes, Anderson and Carrick as well as Nani and Giggs? I’m pretty sure Hargo will start. It is a CL game and that was what he was bought for. Nani is just in too good a form to be sat down in favor of Giggsy and the same goes for Carrick. But how do you sit down Mr. Anderson?
    Scholes played well but Carrick deserves that start

  16. Grognard,I think fergie will go for experience.scholes will definately start

  17. it will be a 4-3-3 with hargo andy and carrick in the centre, saf wont put down hargo because of his expirence, andy hasn’t played a full match if i remember correctly for last few games and carrick didn’t have any involvement at all today, scholes played a full 90 minutes so i expect him on the bench, nani is just to good to be put on the bench, he truly is the a spawn of a gay couple, the trickery of ronaldo and the crossing of beckham, if rooney would just get his ‘touch’ back, we would be scoring goals against teams like milan at san siro for fun!

  18. Dan: I’m sorry but despite a recent improvement in form Hargreaves has yet to come anywhere near to justifying his £18m fee. He has, IMO, done less than Carrick had done at the corresponding time last season. And you are calling someone else fickle, the words pot, kettle and black spring to mind.

  19. JB; Carrick wasn’t fighting a lingering injury for all of last season so your comparison is very unfair. Give Hargo the time to truly get acclimated to the BPL as well as fully fit and you will eat your words.

  20. [Dan]
    You tend to jump the gun a little too soon, don’t you? Give all players a little more time before judging them.

    [JB]
    And comparing him to Carrick is still premature in my opinion. I was impressed by him in the big games especially when he played alongside Anderson against Liverpool and Arsenal. But then, Fletcher and Smith had blinders in midfield against a marauding Chelsea in the 05/06 season. So I’ll keep my judgment to the tail end of the season.

    The midfield combination is still a big talking point, and I think it will be so till the end of this season. In a way, it would be nice if SAF figures out which pairs of midfielders would work. If he gets two pairs (preferably distinct ones — like Carrick/Anderson and Hargo/Scholes, for example) then he could comfortably rotate them. It’s still a happy headache and signs that we have a squad with players getting themselves into title winning form.

  21. What words will I eat, that Hargreaves has not performed the way he can to date? Because he hasn’t, injuries or no injuries. So far he has performed just about adequately, no more. I’m fully aware of his capabilities and was a supporter of the signing of him. If you cast you mind back I was (and am as part of a 3 with Anderson) a big advocate of a Carrick/Hargreaves central midfield. However that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been under whelmed by his performances so far. Thankfully there have been signs of improvement recently, let us hope he continues on that track.

    I think we will be better placed to truly judge him next season with (hopefully) a full pre season behind him and time to adapt fully. I hoped he would be able to get used to United and the English game a bit quicker (his biggest problem seems to be holding on to the ball for too long, a big issue in a team built around doing everything at great speed) but any player from a foreign league should get at least a seasons grace in that regard.

    As for the injury last yeat, whilst it was a bad one, it wasn’t a broken leg a la Eduardo/Smith. There definitely shouldn’t be lingering after effects more than a year after it, especially considering some of the CL performances he was putting in the second half of last season for Bayern. Regardless however, there are a number of our players who have been suffering from the after effects of injuries this season, who have been cut a lot less slack than Hargreaves has got.

  22. I think we might have a go at Lyon with 4-4-2. Let’s face it, 0-0 is not a common scoreline for us so we really have to win the game and we’re going to do that by attacking not playing cagily and hoping we hit them on the break or make something out of a set piece. Lyon do not have a great defence so we can outscore them and if they score through a lucky break or a piece of magic from ben arfa or benzema then we are more than capable of scoreing two or more.

  23. [JB]
    About the cutting less slack bit with regards to other players, I think Saha has got all the patience in the world, Carrick/Scholes had a bit of an unfair treatment but then it was not as if the league was new to them. Hargo hasn’t had the luxury of settling into a rhythm because of his injuries. However, it must be said that he actually put in some dominant performances in the early part of the season when he played. Notably against City in August (although we lost that game) I know it’s not a very good metric but he did win the fans’ player of the year award for August despite making 2 appearances. It’s an indication that he hasn’t done too badly. But yes, it is still premature to judge him.

  24. RR: The comparison I was making was that if Carrick hadn’t justified his £18m fee at this stage of last season with his perfomances, then there is no way Hargreaves has this year. Now there may be reasons for this, such as injuries, but that is all part of the overall package and just can’t be discounted when judging a player’s contribution.

  25. Injuries have to be taken in to consideration when evaluating a player’s contribution against the money that was spent on him. Also, although Hargo’s injury was not as serious as Smith’s or Eduado’s, he does have the lingering problem of tendinitis in the knee which if you’ve ever suffered from tendinitis, is a total bitch to live with let alone play with. I agree that a full off season and a good pre-season will probably brig out his best next season. Still, I think he’s pretty damned good right now.

  26. Goal scorers:
    1 Cristiano RONALDO 29
    2 Carlos TEVEZ 15
    3 Wayne ROONEY 13
    4 Louis SAHA 5
    5 NANI 3
    6 Ryan GIGGS 3
    7 Rio FERDINAND 3
    8 Darren FLETCHER 2
    9 Gerard PIQUÉ 2
    10 Paul SCHOLES 1
    11 Nemanja VIDIC 1
    12 Michael CARRICK 1
    13 Owen HARGREAVES 1
    14 Ji-sung PARK 1
    15 Own goals 2(Gallas and Davies.)
    Since the start of February, four United players have scored their first goal of the season. Those players are: Fletcher(2), Carrick, Park and Hargreaves. And if you look back and see that the last time a player scored his first goal of the season was back in October(Pique), I find this amazing! This seems to be the time when most players score their first goal of the season. Now its time for Anderson, Evra, Oshea and Brown! In that order 😀

  27. Red Devil- I was just thinking about that point myself! However, if you think about it, it isn’t that remarkable, as we have been resting many of our first team players recently, so the onus has been on others to score.

  28. The best moment was that cross from Ronaldo!!
    He loves that move… Only does it a couple of times in a season.

  29. Hargreaves may be English but he’s played all his life in Germany. It is a different league and all players are entitled to a season to adjust to the pace of the English game. His true value I believe will be in Europe as he’s got loads of Champions League experience.

  30. Giggs scored in the community shield against Chelsea, and he also scored in the 4-1 win over Derby, as well as that Villa goal.

  31. I think it should Dan! Its a trophy you can win and its against a top side.

  32. Yeah, thats right Sam. I had actually forgotten that! When we won the CS, my first thought was that if we could collect every trophy possible this season we would win five trophies! Were out of the Carling Cup, but we can still win the quadruple. I hope we will. 😀

  33. Oh please, we are not Liverpool, we don’t count fake tin pot trophies like the CS or European Super Cup!!

  34. The Charity Shield and the League Cup are nothing more than paper weights at OT. Let the sorry buggers at other lesser cubs scurry ike starving rabbits to possess such rubbish. For me they mean absolutely nothing. In fact any trophy that is won without putting out ones best eleven is total crap. My question to all of you is what trophy matter the most to you, is it the League or the European Cup? For me it’s the League because the CL has turned into an unattractive boring battle of wits and negative tactics. Any competition that involves Italians is bound to be political and boring as well. This is not an indictment against Italy itself, but it’s negative and unattractive style and method of football.

  35. it would have to be the FA cup, its where even little teams can compete and say there one of the best, the CL to say we are the best Europe. what happened to the fifa club world cup?

  36. The Fifa Club World cup still happens every year, but its still as worthless as the Carling Cup or Community Shield really. I think that I prefer to win the League again, because we know that if we win the League we’ll have won it in style, compared to the Champions League when we are a completely different team and in truth most of the time we are boring, which is why it suits Liverpool and AC milan so much 🙂

  37. Nah,I didnt experience 1999 so for me its the champs league.The leagues great but to be champions of europe is something else.Btw,negative tactics is part of football.We should play our game.

  38. But Taehr in the Champions League we don’t play our game, thats the point. Only in the home games are we slightly similar, but in the Champions League every little mistake is punished with a much greater consequence so we’re too wary of being solid the whole way through the team that we don’t play the great attacking football we all love, although this season in the group stages we were more exciting than usual so who knows, but the Premier League is still a more exciting competition for the most part.

  39. The league is probably a bigger accolade than the Champions League, especially now that so many quality players are coming to England.

    However, it all depends on circumstances, and for United at this juncture I would prefer the Champions League (as compared to Liverpool, who would undoubtedly prefer the league, for example)

    Our domination of the past 15 years is not reflected in European success, and for those of you who say you prefer the league, can you honestly say that, for you, the feeling when we won the league, say, in 2000 (ie for the second time in a row like it would be this year) was better than that of winning the CL in 99? That was a special feeling, Taehr, you are right, you need to experience it, and the rest of us crave experiencing it again. I think we have the squad to do it this time.

  40. EPL for me too, but CL is not that bad, so it’s 2nd place for me. The braging rights from CL are huge

  41. If fergie wasnt scared to play 4-4-2 we probably would do much better.What gets on my nerves is when we go a goal down we immediately switch to 4-4-2 to get back into the game.Like last year against benfica and against lyon.If 4-4-2 gets us goals then why not start with it.I think fergie looks to the opposing teams too much instead of focussing on our own talented players.

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