Manchester United vs Fulham
Venue: Old Trafford
Referee: Lee Mason
TV: Sky Sports
Manchester United welcome Fulham to Old Trafford for their first and only home fixture of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign to be played in front of fans.
There is very little to play for for either side, the Red Devils assured of a top-four place while the Cottagers have already been relegated.
Both managers could make changes, particularly United with the Europa League final in mind. Dan James and Anthony Martial are fit and available after injuries, while Mario Lemina could return for Fulham having missed out against parent club Southampton at the weekend.
The reverse fixture finished 2-1 to the Red Devils at Craven Cottage back in January, goals from Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba earning the points following an early strike from Adeloma Lookman.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are relatively well-rested following their gruelling schedule of three matches in five days last week, having not played this weekend just gone. Harry Maguire will not feature in the Premier League again this season, with his involvement in the Europa League Final far from assured.
Dean Henderson remains the first-choice goalkeeper despite shipping four goals against Liverpool, though David De Gea may be afforded a final outing in front of the Old Trafford faithful with a summer exit possible. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are likely to line up between Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in defence. Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles remain at the front of the queue of fringe players if Solskjaer chooses to rest any of his first-choice back four.
Fred and Scott McTominay could resume their partnership in midfield, though Nemanja Matic is in contention to feature. Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata remain fringe options in midfield, with Bruno Fernandes invariably starting in the number 10 role if fit. Paul Pogba is an alternative anywhere in midfield or on the left-wing, where he has featured in recent weeks.
The return of James and Martial may tempt the Norwegian into carefully managing the minutes of his key attackers with the Europa League Final in mind. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford have featured heavily in recent weeks and could be rested. Edinson Cavani rarely starts consecutive games and may be consigned to the bench once again.
Antonee Robinson and Tom Cairney remain out for the Cottagers, who have picked up just one point since beating Liverpool at Anfield in early March.
Alphonse Areola will continue in goal, though the defensive setup in front of him is harder to predict. Scott Parker has utilised both a back three and four over the course of the season, having returned to a three-man unit against Southampton.
Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo look certain to start in the middle with one of Kenny Tete or Ola Aina, while Joe Bryan will compete with the likes of Fabio Carvalho, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Ivan Cavaleiro for a spot at wing-back.
Two of Harrison Reed, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Mario Lemina will likely start in the centre of midfield, with Ademola Lookman, Josh Onomah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek vying for a role in attacking midfield. Josh Maja and Aleksandr Mitrovic remain options upfront in addition to Cavaleiro and Decordova-Reid.
Head to Head Record and Stats
- All-time Premier League H2H record: Man United 21-3 Fulham (5 draws)
- Last 10 H2H record (all competitions): Man United 9-0 Fulham (1 draw)
- So far in the 2020/21 Premier League season, Manchester United’s fixtures have produced 112 goals – the most of any team. Fulham’s matches have provided the fewest (76).
- Only six teams in history have recorded fewer goals after 36 games of a Premier League season than 2020/21 Fulham (26).
Predicted Starting XIs
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
Fulham (3-4-2-1): Areola; Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Carvalho, Reed, Anguissa, Decordova-Reid; Lookman, Loftus-Cheek; Cavaleiro
Prediction: Man United 4-1 Fulham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope to put on a show in the first and last home game in front of fans this season, with a strong lineup likely to be fielded. Fulham were impressive in possession against Southampton but lacked a cutting edge, having scored just four goals in their last eight games. Despite the dead-rubber feel of this one on paper, I can see a goal-fest.