Exactly one week on from Saturday’s mauling, we are forced to renter the ring with Fergie’s champions elect, this time at Craven Cottage. Will a all round positive week for us, give us more of a competitive chance this time around?
Its been a great week for us this week. Firstly there was the news, Al Fayed was wiping the clubs debt, a move that secures the long term future of Fulham FC.The second piece of good news, came in the shape of a fantastic performance against West Ham on Wednesday night. The 3-1 victory was a result that has the potential to turn our season back around. Finally, the transfer window ended on Thursday, now i have fully reflected upon our business in January i will say that our squad looks a lot stronger than at the start of the month, that considered i find it hard not to be satisfied with the squad we now have to pick from.
The mood going into last weeks game was largely negative, this weeks mood is slightly more confident and positive from a fans perspective, as I’m sure it is in the camp.
So lets start off with team news. Manchester United fresh from Wednesdays 2-1 victory against Southampton,a game in which at times United rode their luck, visit with few injury worries. The league leaders visit with just two injury doubts, Johnny Evans and Ashley Young. A side similar to last weeks is what i am expecting but with the added fear factor of Robin Van Persie who was rested last week but should start this time around.
Missing out for us on Saturday will probably be Kieran Richardson, Kerim Frei, Mahammedou Diarra and its doubtful Simon Davies will be anything more than a sub. The most concerning piece of news is that Dimitar Berbatov may not be fit to face his former club after pulling a hamstring.
As it stands it looks like we are going to be without Berbatov which how ever you dress it up is a massive, massive blow. Berba is integral to how we play, how we attack, defend and how we are set up as a team, it will be extremely challenging to adapt to playing without a player who at times we rely too heavily upon. The silver lining for me at least, is that it will give a real chance to Miladen Petric, a player i really rate and one that always does better when not in Berba’s shadow. Petric is also a player that links up well with Rodellega, it could be a blessing in disguise particularly if they link up as well as they did on Wednesday. Berbatov’s absence should also allow Ruiz to be the man to dictate play, something he does fantastically.
Saturday could see a number of debutants for Fulham, any of the troop of rented players could grace the Cottage live on ESPN. Frimpong, Manolev, Enoh and most excitingly of all Emanuelson, could all feature on Saturday. Its great to finally have some options in the the squad, a real battle for centre midfield and cover for both left and right back. I don’t anticipate Jol throwing any of our new signings straight in but its an exciting prospect to have them in the squad.
I see Manchester United as a free go to be honest, im not expecting anything and as such any positive result is a bonus. What i do expect though is a more spirited performance than last week, which i am anticipating. The fixture has been reasonably one sided since Roy departed. We have though had some famous victories in the past and who can forget the last time when we had a quick fire back to back against the Red Devils the second tie resulted in that 2-0 victory, so fingers crossed, we will be having a jolly evening.