- Kick-off 8.15pm, BT Sport 1
And welcome to live coverage of Manchester United’s visit to Fulham, AKA the George Best /Dimitar Berbatov / Louis Saha/ Edwin van der Sar derby. Victory tonight would put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side back above either Leicester City or Manchester City, depending on tonight’s result at the Etihad, at the top of the table while a win for Fulham would keep them in the bottom three but only a point behind Burnley and two behind Brighton with a game in hand.
Yet victory for Fulham in these meetings has become extinct in the last decade. They have played 11 times since 2009 with Manchester United winning nine and drawing the other two. Fulham’s last win, by 3-0 in December 2009, came by virtue of goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff. As United lost the title that year, when gunning for four in a row, by a point to Chelsea, one could argue it cost Sir Alex Ferguson another league championship but given that it was also one of the performances that convinced Liverpool to make Roy Hodgson their manager, Fulham also paid a heavy price.
It will be interesting to see where Paul Pogba plays tonight after his assignment on the right against Liverpool as a kind of Robertson inhibitor, He scored twice on his last visit but may well be rested. As for Fulham, they have played well in that run of five successive draws and did so again in defeat by Chelsea. There is no doubt that Scott ‘the Ace Face’ Parker has worked wonders with his defence and midfield with multiple new players after their leaky start but they retain one alarming flaw, an inability to score. Fourteen goals in 17 games, six in nine at home, is inadequate and threatens to stymie all their progress elsewhere. If they are going to stay up, they need to refine their attack … and soon.
To that end Fulham have the spark of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek returning but Bobby Decordova-Reid and Antonee Robinson are both suspended. Manchester United have all but Phil Jones and Brandon Williams available.
The team news will be here imminently.