Manchester United Preview

Friday 1 November 2013 16:26

Fulham take on reigning Premier League champions Manchester United at Craven Cottage on Saturday (3pm), with both sides desperate for the three points.

Manchester United

CLUB COLOURS: Red with black and white trim

STADIUM: Old Trafford

POSITION 2012/13: 1st in Premier League

LAST FIVE LEAGUE RESULTS: Stoke City (H) won 3-2, Southampton (H) drew 1-1, Sunderland (A) won 2-1, West Bromwich Albion (H) lost 2-1, Manchester City (A) lost 4-1

THE GAFFER: Taking the Manchester United hotseat is no easy feat at the best of times, but to do it succeeding arguably the greatest manager of all time is some challenge. David Moyes hasn’t got off to the start he’d have liked at Old Trafford, but there are promising signs for the Scotsman. After 11 years at Everton it was Moyes who was given the nod to take the reins from Sir Alex Ferguson, and after a patchy start it appears United have turned a corner. Sitting top of their UEFA Champions League group and coming off the back of a great comeback win against Stoke City in their last league game, they’ll be looking to continue their good form at Craven Cottage.

THE TACTICS: The current champions are known for their burning desire to attack at every opportunity, pouring bodies forward in an attempt to swamp defences and create numerous chances to score. Both full-backs Patrice Evra and Rafael will look to overlap the wingers and whip in crosses for the dangermen Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Rooney, whilst wanting to play as a more central striker, will likely be deployed in the number 10 role – dropping deep to collect the ball and create opportunities for others. Michael Carrick will be the player attempting to dictate the tempo and play from his central midfield position, and Fulham will need to allow him no time on the ball if they want to get a foothold in the match.

Three To Watch

ROBIN VAN PERSIE: Since moving from Arsenal to Manchester United last summer for £24m, Robin van Persie hasn’t looked back. The talismanic striker scored 26 league goals to fire United to the Barclays Premier League title in 2012/13 and has already notched five in eight games this season. He can score any type of goal, be it a poacher’s finish or a stunning 30-yard volley. Few in the world have a left foot as deadly as his and Fulham’s defenders will have to be on the top of their game to keep him quiet.

WAYNE ROONEY: Despite an unsettled summer where there were strong rumours he wanted to leave, Wayne Rooney has buckled down and become an essential part of Manchester United’s attack this season. England’s star man has shown endless energy in his performances this season, and whilst he prefers playing as an out-and-out striker he’s thrived in the ‘just behind the main forward’ position this campaign. Whilst he’s now just as likely to create goals as score them, four in eight appearances in the league so far this season shows he’s still as prolific in front of the net as he always has been.

ADNAN JANUZAJ (PICTURED): He may have only made five senior appearances in his entire short career so far, but Adnan Januzaj is the man of the moment in the Premier League right now. The 18-year old burst onto the scene on his first Manchester United start, scoring a stunning brace in the 2-1 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Since then he’s signed a five-year contract, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2018, meaning the young winger will be lighting up the Premier League for years to come.

Manchester United In Numbers

3: European Cups won (1968, 1999 and 2008)

14: Goals scored so far this season

20: First Division and Premier League titles won

1878: Year club was formed

75,731: Capacity of Old Trafford