Fulham v Manchester United
Fulham have been having a brilliant season and could go to just 1 point behind Manchester United with a win here. While this would normally give Fulham fans plenty of hope for a result here, news that Aleksandar Mitrovic is still injured and unavailable to play will lower their confidence. However, Fulham did push Manchester City all the way last weekend, although they were against 10 men for most of the match, so will want to try and see through a result this time against a top team. Andreas Pereira will also play against his former club in this match, he often showed signs of promise for Manchester United but was never able to produce it, however this season at Fulham he has been very good and may come back to haunt his former team in this match.
Manchester United played in midweek against Aston Villa which saw a very entertaining second half with 6 goals. This win also was a good reaction to the loss at the weekend for Manchester United who have now only lost 1 of their last 11 matches in all competitions. Ten Hag will be very happy to have Anthony Martial back in his squad and available for this match although Ronaldo, Sancho and Antony are all doubts for this game. For Manchester United every game is a must win as they try to catch up to the top 4 teams and with this their last match before the World Cup break, they will be desperate to end on a high.
Fulham have had a brilliant start to the season and it has been fuelled by exciting attacking football. This means that only the top 4 teams and Liverpool have scored more goals than them this season, however, this attacking football has left plenty of gaps defensively. Despite being such high scorers, only Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Leicester have conceded more goals than them this season. This has meant of their 14 matches this season, 12 of them have had over 2.5 goals. Manchester United matches have seen less goals than Fulham matches but still have averaged 2.8 goals per match. This has meant that just over half of Manchester United’s matches have involved over 2.5 goals. Fulham’s only matches with under 2.5 goals were both 0-0 draws with Everton and Wolves. Everton and Wolves are both very defensively minded teams whereas Manchester United will try and attack Fulham so expect a free-flowing match. Therefore, over 2.5 goals seems like a good value selection.
Fulham are open at the back and as a result of this, teams easily carve them open and shoot from an average position closer to the goal than against any other team. Bruno Fernandes is having a good season for Manchester United and seems to be perfecting his role in Ten Hag’s side. One thing Bruno Fernandes is really mastering is arriving late in the box in shooting positions which is why he could be a key player in this match. Fulham will allow Rashford and whichever player is fit to start on the other wing plenty of room to run at them, so expect plenty of cutbacks from out wide. When the ball is cut back to the edge of the box Bruno Fernandes will be there waiting and therefore can have plenty of chances in this match. He is averaging 0.75 shots on target per 90 this season in the league and had 4 shots on target in midweek against Aston Villa. With Fulham being so open at the back, Manchester United will have plenty of chances so Bruno Fernandes should be a favourite for a shot on target.
Fulham concede a lot of chances and usually these chances come down the opposition’s left, 47% of opposition attacks over Fulham’s last 3 matches have come down the opposition’s left. Starting on Manchester United’s left will likely be Marcus Rashford who continues to thrive out wide, he even said in an interview after the game against Aston Villa that he feels he is much better playing out wide now. Rashford has been hitting plenty of shots on target this season, he has averaged 2.61 shots per 90 in the league this season with 0.96 shots on target per 90. Only Nottingham Forest and Brentford have allowed more shots on target than Fulham this season and only a handful of teams average more shots on target per 90 than Manchester United. Rashford has had at least one shot on target in 7 of the last 9 matches he has played at least 45 minutes in, so I am backing him to have a shot on target in this match.
This match sees the 2 most carded teams in the league face each other. The referee for this match, Paul Tierney has averaged 4 cards per match in the 11 Premier League matches he has refereed this season and as these teams are carded so often, expect plenty of cards in this match. For Manchester United, Harry Maguire is surely a favourite to be carded. With Raphael Varane still out injured, Harry Maguire will start at centre-back again in this match. Maguire has only played in 4 matches in the Premier League this season, starting just 3 of them and has still accumulated 3 yellow cards. Maguire accumulates bookings very quickly and he will probably be up against Carlos Vinicius. Vinicius is a physically strong player and Maguire is often drawn into grappling when up against strong strikers. If Vinicius does hold the ball up and try to take it past Maguire, do not be surprised if Maguire brings him down and sees himself booked. Considering how often he is getting booked this season, Maguire is very good value for a booking in this match.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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