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Fulham visit Man Utd -- PL Match Preview

last updated Saturday 08th February 2014, 12:48 PM

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen
Fulham Head Coach
Rene Meulensteen
Rene Meulensteen
So dire is Fulham's predicament that some thought Rene Meulensteen wouldn't make it as far as his Old Trafford return this weekend.

As it is, the Dutchman will take his 16th game in charge of Fulham, but unless he can quickly get his team to stop conceding goals and gain some points the speculation about how many more matches he'll have will only increase.

Alan Curbishley's appointment as technical director just before Christmas was supposed to help Meulensteen but it's looking more like a millstone for him at the moment. Ironic really, given that the current head coach was himself brought in to 'help' Martin Jol in November!

Meulensteen's assessment that Tuesday night's FA Cup replay defeat by League One Sheffield United meant Fulham had "hit rock bottom" might not be correct - they could take more crushing blows yet. The Cottagers have lost each of their last 11 games away to Manchester United, and this one is followed by Liverpool at home on Wednesday.

Of course, United away is not now the foregone conclusion it used to be for visiting sides. United anywhere isn't, having lost five of their last eight games in all competitions.

The announcement of captain Nemanja Vidic's end-of-season departure wasn't a huge surprise and underlines the transitional phase the team (and indeed whole club) is in at the moment. It might even help with the understanding of just what David Moyes faced in taking the 'impossible job'.

Finishing fourth is veering more towards that category too with every result like last week's at Stoke - United's eighth league defeat of the season. They haven't lost as many of their first 24 games since 1989-90.

Fourth place though IS essential for Manchester United - and that means winning games like these. Handsomely.


  • Manchester United have won their last 11 league and cup games against Fulham at Old Trafford, scoring 30 goals.

  • Fulham have avoided defeat at United only once in 51 years - a 3-1 Premier League victory in October 2003, when Lee Clark, Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto scored for the visitors.

  • United have kept five clean sheets in their last six home league games against Fulham.

  • Manchester United

  • Manchester United are 19 points, seven wins, six places and 20 goals worse off than at the same stage of last season. It's their lowest points tally after 24 matches since the 1990-91 season, when they also had 40 points - and lost their next three matches.

  • They have lost four Premier League home matches this season - the most since suffering six defeats at Old Trafford in 2001-02.

  • David Moyes' side have only dropped four points from winning positions, the best record in the division.

  • Robin van Persie has scored six goals in his last seven league appearances.

  • Wayne Rooney has scored in five of United's last six games against Fulham in all competitions. In total, he has 10 Premier League goals against Fulham for United.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have lost 13 of their last 16 league games, including the last four.

  • Their last three Premier League games have been goalless at half-time but they have lost all three, conceding a total of seven goals without reply.

  • Under Rene Meulensteen, Fulham have conceded 29 goals in 11 games, five more than they did in 13 games under Martin Jol this season.

  • They have gone 20 Premier League games without a draw, the second longest such run in the Premier League behind Bolton's 28-game streak between March and December 2011.

  • Meulensteen spent 12 years as a coach at Manchester United between 2001 and 2013, apart from a six-month spell as manager at Brondby in 2006-07.
Source Guy Mowbray at BBCSports
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