Manchester United vs Fulham preview: Anthony Martial a doubt
Last Updated: 08/12/18 9:29am
Manchester United could be without Anthony Martial when they look to end their winless run against Fulham on Saturday.
United have failed to win in their last four Premier League matches following a 2-2 midweek draw with Arsenal.
Martial scored against the Gunners but went off in the second half and will be assessed ahead of the weekend.
Reflecting on United's recent form, manager Jose Mourinho said: "The statistics, that are not fundamental, sometimes support our feelings and ideas, but sometimes contradict them. In this case confirmation was the numbers.
"My team of 10 players ran more with higher intensity to press the ball more to give difficulty to the opposition. We were fast in our transitions had that spirit, that mentality that brought our game to a good level."
Fulham drew against Leicester in midweek to make it four points from three matches under new manager Claudio Ranieri.
"We've played three good matches," said Ranieri. "We are a work in progress. I am very confident with my players.
"If you observe the three matches, we improved every match a little more, a little more. I know there is a lot of work to do but we are in a good way."
Martial, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are among the players that could be absent for Manchester United.
The trio will be assessed on Friday, as will centre-back Eric Bailly after Wednesday's draw against Arsenal. Luke Shaw is hoping to return after missing that match with a knock and Ashley Young is back from suspension.
Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku might return to the starting line-up after being dropped to the bench against the Gunners, but Victor Lindelof (groin) and Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) are out.
Fulham expect to have Kevin McDonald and Floyd Ayite available. McDonald and Ayite have made good progress in their attempts to recover from respective hamstring and groin injuries.
- Manchester United and Fulham last met in February 2014 in the Premier League - a 2-2 draw in which the Cottagers equalised in the 90th minute via Darren Bent.
- Fulham have lost 21 of their last 23 away matches against Manchester United in all competitions (W1 D1) - their only win in this sequence was a 3-1 victory in the Premier League in October 2003.
- In their last meeting in February 2014, Manchester United produced a tally of 81 crosses against Fulham - the most in a Premier League match since the 2003-04 campaign.
- Fulham have only lost more Premier League matches against Arsenal (19) than against Manchester United (18).
- Among Premier League fixtures to have seen at least 50 goals scored, Manchester United vs Fulham has seen the highest percentage of goals in the first half (51 of 86, 59%) - only two of the 26 Premier League meetings between the teams have been goalless at half-time.
- Manchester United have made 46 changes to their starting XI overall this season; including seven in their midweek draw with Arsenal. No side have made as many as the Red Devils this season in the Premier League.
- Fulham are winless in 10 Premier League away games (D1 L9), losing their last six in a row. They last lost more consecutive away in the competition in March 2006 (8).
- This is the 10th meeting between Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho and Fulham's Claudio Ranieri in all competitions - Mourinho has won his last three against the Italian since losing in his final match in charge of Chelsea in December 2015 against Leicester City.
Paul Merson's prediction
I see a return to winning ways for Manchester United against Fulham at Old Trafford. However, if they do not win this game Jose Mourinho will do well to keep his job come Monday. If they can't beat Fulham at home where are they going?
At the moment we are talking about it being a feat if they get into the top four so this is a must-win game. If they don't win the game I would be shocked if Mourinho was there on Monday.
I don't see it coming to that though because if there was one team you'd pick to play it would be Fulham. They did alright against Chelsea but it was just okay, they were never going to win. Fulham have improved under Claudio Ranieri since his arrival but they have to start winning games soon. It won't be this weekend though.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)