Following Manchester City’s stutter at Stoke City, bitter rivals Manchester United will be hoping to resume their position of top spot with a win over Fulham in this week’s Monday night fixture, as Betfred offer very short odds of a Man Utd victory at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are currently level on points with Roberto Mancini’s men and just a point would put them back on top as they are only second based on an inferior goal difference.
In true united style, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side appear to be gaining momentum toward the end of the season and it appears that the club’s Europa League exit may benefit the current Premier League champions in one very important way as it allows them to concentrate on their domestic competition.
On the other hand, City have been dropping points more regularly than they would like since the turn of the year and it appears depth and substance could eventually become an issue.
United are enjoying a nine-match unbeaten streak in the league, winning eight of those games, which has propelled the Red Devils to the summit of the Premiership, second only to goal difference, and a win tonight would see Alex Ferguson’s side reclaim top spot with a three point lead over their rivals Manchester City.
Fulham are in a dissimilar vein of form at the moment and go into this week’s game on the back of a two-match losing run. Martin Jol’s team most recently slipped up against Swansea City, losing 3-0 at home to the Welsh outfit, and a mostly uninspiring performance, and its clear that the Cottagers are struggling for consistency.
To add to that misery on home ground, the Cottagers aren’t much better on unfamiliar soil and actually have the Premier League’s worst attacking record when playing away from home.
The West London side have failed to score in half of their away games and will be relying on January loan signing Pavel Pogrebnyak to find his shooting boots if they are to have a chance at Old Trafford.
The Russian holds a record of five goals in five games at Fulham, earning his nickname of ‘Death from Above’ since moving to the English top flight, and he should be ably supported by Clint Dempsey in midfield, who has chipped in with some vital goals this season.
Jol has no new injury concerns to worry about and is expected to have a healthy crop of players for his visit to the Theatre of Dreams.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be pleased to hand late fitness tests to Anders Linegaard and Nani, who could both return from injury in the midweek fixture, although Michael Owen is still out.
Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Fabio, Paul Pogba and Phil Jones are all in contention after coming through a successful reserve team game last Thursday, and could make an appearance at Old Trafford tonight.