Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for a little more from his Manchester Utd side when they kick off against Fulham on Saturday in their first home game of the Premier League season.
Many were expecting Robin van Persie to strike that dream partnership with Wayne Rooney early, sending Everton spiraling into a vortex of uncertainty following their attacking mastery. But it wasn’t to be.
Well, there’s still 37 Premier League games left and Fulham at home represents a good opportunity for Manchester United to get back on track.
The home side will once again have to patch together a defence, with their best centre-backs, barring Nemanja Vidic, still out injured. Michael Carrick had a torrid time trying to halt the excellent Marouane Fellaini at Goodison Park, while Patrice Evra still looks nothing of the confident and reliable full-back of years gone by.
Bet365 odds on this Premier League match:
2/7 Man Utd, 9/2 Draw, 10/1 Fulham
Even with the vast array of attacking talents at Ferguson’s disposal, you’ve still got to worry considering their problems in defensive areas.
However, David de Gea was sublime against Everton, looking much more confident and composed. He pulled off a number of excellent saves, helping to keep his side in a game that could have been out of sight.
I don’t expect to see de Gea keeping a clean sheet on Saturday against Fulham, but he really does look a great improvement on his dodgy start of last season.
But I do expect to see more of the Shinji Kagawa following the impressive debut he had against Everton. The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder really looks comfortable in his partnership with Rooney at the tip of United’s attacking sword. But his vision and nimble movement allowed him to brush away the leaves and open up paths for both Danny Welbeck and Nani. United really have a special player in the Japanese international.
Is Saturday too early for Paul Scholes to start in the United midfield again? Despite his age, he still looks like he is well-suited to the rigors of Premier League football. And let us not forget his ability to land those horribly mistimed tackles.
Regardless of Scholes’ inclusion, Alex Ferguson will be looking for his midfield to keep possession against a dangerous Fulham side. Players like Tom Cleverly and Anderson – if he plays – will be key.
But Fulham were one of the teams to impressive enormously on the opening day of the league season.
Like we’ve seen in past meetings at Craven Cottage, I fully expect Martin Jol’s side to give United a really tough game. And despite the notable absence of Clint Dempsey, they should have enough attacking threats right across the front line.
Mladen Petric was a standout figure last weekend, and the former Hamburg striker is exactly the sort of player who can land a knock-out blow at any moment. His goal tallies in the Bundesliga were good, but no more so than Fulham’s ability to pick him up on a free transfer. If they can get him going, he’ll be a danger to United’s weakened defence.
Bryan Ruiz and Moussa Dembele should also play big roles in the game, while Jon Arne Riise can be a rampaging nuisance on the flank.
Man Utd v Fulham Betting Tips Verdict
Alex Ferguson does need to find a way to get the best out of his new attacking talents, while Martin Jol’s side will be on a high following their 5-0 demolition of Norwich last week.
I believe United will find a way to score in this game, however, I’m struggling to see how they can contain the obvious attacking threat of the away side. A United win is just 2/7 with the bookies and that is poor value. I expect goals from both sides and would prefer a bet on the draw at 9/2 with Bet365 Bookmaker.