Manchester United-Fulham Preview
Fulham have no fear ahead of hosting Premier League leaders Manchester United despite seeing their unbeaten run ended by Chelsea.
The Cottagers are 18th but had gone six without defeat prior to the Chelsea match, albeit drawing each of their five league games in that stretch.
But the reverse at the hands of the Blues only came after a first-half red card for Antonee Robinson and, despite losing, provided more evidence of a more resolute Fulham team.
They will not lack confidence against United either, having beaten Leicester City and drawn with Liverpool and Tottenham since late November.
"No, definitely not (any fear)," Scott Parker said. "And that goes for last time, Liverpool, Man City and Leicester.
"Now we've had another group of games Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, who are playing exceptionally well. I don't think my team should be scared in any way.
"You need to adopt a certain way about you and I think we've adopted that over the last few weeks. It's a team evolving, improving, we're getting better.
"We can give anyone a game; I honestly feel every game we go into we want to cause teams problems however big they are and I think we have shown that over the last few weeks."
For United, the focus is on securing a victory that might present Sunday's disappointing draw at Liverpool in new light.
"A point might be okay if win the next one," manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
Of their title hopes, he added: "It doesn't really matter where we are now, it matters where we are in May. We move on, carry on.
"We feel that we've developed and that is a good feeling with being disappointed to only get one point away."
Fulham - Joe Bryan
Left-back Bryan made 69 league starts across his first two seasons at Fulham but has been restricted to just four this term following the arrival of Robinson. But the United States international's red card will give Bryan the opportunity to impress in a huge fixture where he might be asked to defend in a disciplined manner, rather than showing off the attacking talents that fired Fulham to promotion.
Manchester United - Paul Pogba
Bryan might be tasked with containing Pogba, who took on an unorthodox right-sided role against Liverpool to allow Marcus Rashford to play through the middle. Although out of position, Pogba finally looks to be establishing himself in the side again and Solskjaer described his performance at Anfield, which should really have been capped by the winner, as "absolutely brilliant."
- After winning consecutive league games against United in 2009, Fulham are winless in their past 11 against the Red Devils (D2 L9), shipping 29 goals in that run.
- United are unbeaten in their past eight Premier League games against promoted sides (W6 D2), scoring 25 goals in those matches since a 2-0 loss to Cardiff City in May 2019.
- Fulham have failed to score in each of their past three home league games. They last went four without a goal at home in August 1969, while they last did so in the top flight back in December 1961.
- United are the only side without an away defeat in the Premier League so far this season (W7 D2), while the Red Devils have picked up the most points (23) and scored the most goals (22) on the road in the competition this term.
- Solskjaer's side are unbeaten in their past 16 Premier League away games. In their top-flight history, they have only once gone longer without defeat on the road: 17 games between December 1998 and September 1999.
Updated January 18, 2021