More of the same ahead of the Fulham game, please
Although it was no means a complete performance, the 3-0 victory over Newcastle on Monday was at least an encouraging sign of things to come from a side that are usually (historically at least) slow starters in the Premier League.
However, Fulham will certainly be a different proposition, especially facing them away from home. Manchester United’s last two visits to Craven Cottage have not ended well; the Red Devils conceded five goals and failed to fork a reply in either of those games where, in truth, United were dismal. Of course, there’s no reason why Sunday’s game will be exact carbon copies of the two previous but there is reason to be fearful of Fulham, a team that are great exhibitors of the organised and structural approach to a football game, a team that are superb in suffocating play thus frustrating the opponent, something they executed perfectly in their magnificent European run last campaign.
United look in good form though; following a solid pre-season, they convincingly beat Chelsea in the Community Shield, then prevailed in the Newcastle game a week later. In that game at Old Trafford, United displayed such verve that Newcastle were outplayed in every department, and not surprisingly, the home side had 66% possession in that fairly one-sided match-up.
And just like the Chelsea game, it was a certain Paul Scholes who impressed. He masterminded that performance, barely putting a foot wrong in the process, except of course when coming in for one of his trademark rash challenges. Berbatov was also fantastic, and if he can remain consistent in offering his contributions then he certainly can win the tussle with Javier Hernandez to start alongside Wayne Rooney. Rooney has had a bad couple of months, although United fans know of his effectiveness in a red shirt. He does, after all, have an impressive goal-to-game ratio of 0.48. That’s about a goal every two games in simplistic math. A goal would do him a world of good in finding his feet.
This is very much early days, still. Obviously, seeing as only one game has been played (well done, Sherlock). What United have to make sure is that they keep within safe distance of Chelsea, and a good start to the campaign surely won’t hurt the club’s bid for their 19th piece of silverware. If they can control the Fulham game from the offset much like they did against the Toon and keep the ball well, then they will almost definitely triumph in the afternoon game. More of them the same is required for Sunday, please lads, if you don’t mind.
Prediction: 0-1 United win – A gritty, scrappy encounter that will certainly be decided by just the one goal, if any.