United v. Fulham Match PreviewBy: Taylor Rockwell | February 18th, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 @ Old Trafford
Kickoff: 20:00 GMT (3:00 PM EST)
Recent Results: United
- February 15, 2009: United 4 – Derby 1 @ Pride Park (FA Cup)
- February 8, 2009: United 1 – West Ham 0 @ The Boleyn Ground (Premiership)
- January 31, 2009: United 1 – Everton 0 @ Old Trafford (Premiership)
- January 27, 2009: United 5 – West Brom 0 @ The Hawthorns (Premiership)
- January 24, 2009: United 2 – Tottenham 1 @ Old Trafford (FA Cup)
Recent Results: Derby
- February 14, 2009: Fulham 1 – Swansea 1 @ Liberty Stadium
- February 7, 2009: Fulham 0 – Wigan 0 @ The JJB (Premiership)
- January 31, 2009: Fulham 3 – Pompey 1 @ Fratton Park (Premiership)
- January 27, 2009: Sunderland 1 – Fulham 0 @ The Stadium of Light (Premiership)
- January 24, 2009: Fulham 4 – Kettering 2 @ Rockingham Road (FA Cup)
Points to Ponder:
1 – Wayne Rooney is… back? I am hesitant to actually commit this to script given that we’ve been claiming for the past two matches that he will figure (and then, of course, he hasn’t). However, word from the Carrington Training Ground is that the oft-injured striker should bfigure at some point tonight. Having fully recovered from the hamstring knack he suffered against Wigan, Rooney won’t be the only change in the United lineup.
Rooney and Slave obviously discussing geopolitics during a break in training on Tuesday morning.
2 – According to ESPN, “Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Carlos Tevez, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov are among the big names who return following the FA Cup win at Derby, while Edwin van der Sar looks to complete an incredible 14th consecutive Premier League clean sheet.” Indeed, the Dutchman need only endure another seven scoreless Premiership matches to claim the world record for the longest clean sheet in the history of domestic football. For tonight however, he must last 64 minutes to pass Abel Resino’s stint of 1,275 goalless minutes for Atletico Madrid to claim second place on the European list.
3 – The Guardian, never a publication known to jump the gun, has started the debate as to whether or not this United squad is the best ever assembled. Paul Parker’s insights into the debate highlight a frustrating truth in the modern game of football (and tonight’s match in particular),
There was a hunger in our opponents that there just isn’t now. They would come to Old Trafford and play 4-4-2 and give you different challenges, whereas games are very similar nowadays.Take tonight’s match against Fulham: everyone knows what type of game to expect – Fulham can’t score goals and can’t win away, and they will just want a 0–0 draw.
4 – Although this has nothing really to do with tonight’s game, this article was passed along to me by my girlfriend (who likes nothing more than to mock my preference of United over her). Anyway, from The Daily Express, “A married Manchester United fan drove 400 miles for a saucy weekend with a girl he’d met on the internet only to discover it was an elaborate hoax set up by two burly Liverpool supporters he had upset on holiday.” Fucking Scousers.
Derby Squad List: Schwarzer, Hughes, Konchesky, Pantsil, Hangeland, Johnson, Zamora, Nevland, Gera, Murphy, Kamara, Gray, Zuberbuhler, Stoor, Dempsey, Davies, Milsom, Brown, Kallio, Barnes, Dacourt.
United Squad List: Van der Sar, Foster, Kuszczak, Neville, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, O’Shea, Ronaldo, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Park, Berbatov, Rooney, Tevez, Gibson, Welbeck.
Taylor’s Predicted Starting XI: VDS, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Slave, Carrick, Scholes, Park, Berba, Tevez. (I would prefer to see Rooney over Tevez, but I’m guessing he’ll figure as a sub).
Taylor’s Scoreline Prediction: United 3 – Fulham 0 (Berba, Slave, Carrick). Five points clear before the clock strikes midnight!