Manchester United vs Fulham: Complete Preview, Team News and Projected Lineups
After what feels like an eternity, the drums of Old Trafford will beat once again this Saturday afternoon, as Manchester United take on Fulham in their first home fixture of the season.
Perhaps the wait for football to return to the red half of Manchester has felt especially long this time around because of the way glory was so cruelly ripped from Sir Alex Ferguson's hands last time around.
On Saturday, his team will be looking to right the wrongs of the defeat to Everton earlier this week—a result that has seemed to deflate much of the swelling optimism brought about by the arrival of one Robin van Persie this summer.
For those fantasy football fanatics out there desperate for team news, I believe it highly improbable that the United boss will leave the prolific Dutchman on the bench a second time around—he'll have been regretting his decision to do so Monday all week, and wont make the same mistake again.
Whether or not that means Danny Welbeck misses out is another question. Although I wouldn't put it past Sir Alex to play van Persie, Welbeck and Rooney in a 4-3-3 formation, with the two English forwards in wider positions.
Nani, though, may not be so lucky—the mercurial winger was United's most disappointing player at Goodison Park, and may pay the penalty this weekend.
Fulham, meanwhile, are coming off the back of one their greatest performances since their magical Europa League run in 2010.
Martin Jol's first season at Craven Cottage was a little up-and-down, although if last weekend's performance is anything go by, the highly-respected Dutch boss is finally beginning to pull it all together.
He has brought in solid signings whilst spending very little this summer, bringing strikers Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric and full-back Sascha Riether to the London club for next-to-nothing.
If he can manage to hold on to at least two of Moussa Dembele, Brede Hangeland and Clint Dempsey as well, it will be considered a very successful transfer window indeed.
On the injury front, only United's Jonny Evans stands an outside chance of being fit for the clash, whilst defenders Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will certainly miss out.
Therefore either Michael Carrick or Patrice Evra may be drafted in to the team's central defence.
For Fulham, Simon Davies, Phillipe Senderos and Karim Frei are all unlikely to feature.
Having expressed a desire to leave the club, Clint Dempsey too has been omitted from the team to face the Red Devils (via BBC).
Manchester United: de Gea, Evra, Carrick, Vidic, Valencia, Cleverley, Scholes, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney, van Persie
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise, Hughes, Hangeland, Riether, Diarra, Duff, Dembele, Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Petric
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