Gameweek 16 sees Manchester United make the short trip to the capital to take on Fulham in the last Premier League weekend before club football takes a break for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar starting on the 20th of November.
Fulham have had a mighty return to the Premier League, and are currently enjoying life in the top flight. Over recent years, the Cottagers have earned a reputation of being a yo-yo club, with constant movement from the Premier League to the Championship. However, this season the Londoners look like a much better and more balanced side than they have in their past few seasons in the PL. Manager Marco Silva has made huge improvements to the squad, and they now sit in 9th place, just two points off 6th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.
They were last in action against Manchester City away from home, as they put up a very brave fight against the defending champions but eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Etihad. The Cottagers now face another Mancunian opponent as Man United comes visiting at Craven Cottage.
Man United’s season with new manager Erik ten Hag started in the worst possible way, losing the first two games including a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford, which saw them fall to last in the table. However, the Dutchman and his boys responded brilliantly and a very good run of victories has seen them rise up to 5th in the table, just three points behind 4th placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand. They have not had it easy by any means, and that rise has consisted of victories over the likes of Liverpool, league leaders Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. The Red Devils lost in the league last time out against a charged-up Aston Villa away from home, who were playing their first game under new manager Unai Emery. However, ten Hag’s men bounced back and took revenge with a 4-2 midweek Carabao Cup win over Villa at home.
United’s loss against Villa last Sunday ended an unbeaten run of 9 games in all competitions. That run stretched back to early October when they lost 6-3 against Manchester City. The Red Devils look in fine form and will be confident of going into the break on a high with three points.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: Sunday, 13th November 2022.
Time: 5.30 pm BST.
Venue: Craven Cottage, London.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies.
Fourth official: Tom Bramall.
VAR: Stuart Attwell.
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.
Fulham will be without Harrison Reed and Kenny Tete with both players picking up a one-game suspension due to getting five yellow cards in the season. However, Bobby Decordova-Reid is set to return after missing out last weekend with the same suspension. The biggest miss however for the Cottagers could be star striker Aleksandr Mitrovic, who missed the last game as well with an ankle injury. The Serbian is a huge doubt and it remains to see if he is passed fit. Midfielder Neeskens Kebano is also set to miss out after suffering a ruptured Achilles in training last week.
Manchester United welcomed back Anthony Martial to the starting lineup in midweek against Aston Villa and it was just his second start this season. The Frenchman has been hampered by injuries since the season started but has proved threatening every time he has played so far. He was taken off early in the second half as a precaution and will be expected to start in London on Sunday. Jadon Sancho and Antony both were unavailable, with the former still recovering from an illness and the latter battling a hip injury. Both wingers are expected to miss out on the trip to Fulham. Cristiano Ronaldo was also a notable absentee on Thursday night with an illness, and it remains to see if he is fit for Sunday, but it is expected that the Portuguese will be dropped to the bench if fit in favor of Martial. Diogo Dalot is set to serve his one-game suspension after accumulating five yellow cards and will be forced to miss the game. Raphael Varane is also recovering from an injury and is set to return to his club only after the World Cup.
The Brazilian midfielder knows Sunday’s opposition all too well. Andreas came through the famed Manchester United youth Academy and was promoted to the senior team by then-manager Louis van Gaal in 2014. However, since then the Brazilian could not cement his place in the squad and several loans moves away followed. The midfielder never lived up to his potential at Old Trafford and a move to Fulham this season followed. The move seemed to have worked brilliantly for the 26-year-old, and he and Fulham seem to be a perfect fit.
Marco Silva has deployed him as a number 10 in the 4-2-3-1 formation, and Pereira has grabbed the opportunity with both hands with a string of solid performances. He has started all 14 games for Fulham in the league so far, scoring 2 goals and assisting 4. Pereira has struck up good partnerships with those around him and has impressed critics with his work-rate. He earned and scored a penalty against Manchester City last weekend, and will look to prove a point against United on Sunday.
The recently turned 25-year-old needs no introduction, and he seems to be enjoying his best life right now. The Englishman has been instrumental in the United attack and has become almost undroppable. After a poor 21/22 season, Rashford looks like his old self again and looks more confident on the ball. Under Erik ten Hag he has improved his finishing skills massively and tops the United scoring charts with 8 goals so far in all competitions. The pacey forward has been called up to the England World Cup squad and celebrated that with a well-taken goal against Aston Villa in the midweek. He will look to hurt the Fulham defense which could be without a couple of key players.
Fulham Predicted XI vs Manchester United: Bernd Leno; Bobby Decordova-Reid, Issa Diop, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson; Tom Cairney, Joao Palhinha: Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Willian; Carlos Vinicius.
Manchester United Predicted XI vs Fulham: David de Gea; Tyrell Malacia, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho; Anthony Martial.