Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Garnacho to start against Fulham? Fernandes on the right? Rashford at number ten? Martial to lead the line?

United's second half display against Villa should be how United start against Fulham

Manchester United will travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It will be the final match that United will play before the FIFA World Cup which will see a number of players head to Qatar with those left in Manchester having some time off before a winter training break in Spain with friendly matches being played.

United fell to Aston Villa in the league on Sunday but dispatched the Birmingham club 4-2 in the Carabao Cup on Thursday evening. It was one of the best matches in the past few weeks for United which saw Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay all score goals and Alejandro Garnacho get two assists and Fernandes get one.

It is important for United to beat Fulham and finish ahead of the FIFA World Cup on a high, getting over the blip that was the Villa match last weekend. United have shown that some changes in the team can do a lot of difference and losing Cristiano Ronaldo from the squad has once again enhanced United, which is a good thing. United play at a quicker pace without him.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw;

Casemiro, Eriksen;

Fernandes, Rashford, Garnacho;


Goalkeeper: De Gea

David De Gea was an unused substitute for the 4-2 victory over Aston Villa on Thursday at Old Trafford meaning that he will be fresh to take on Fulham on Sunday. The past few weeks have been good for United and De Gea, other than the defeat to Villa at Villa Park last Sunday which saw United play a very poor game of football. The confidence is coming back though.

Martin Dubravka had a good debut for United against Villa this week and despite that, he looks set to remain on the bench in the Premier League against Fulham so will have to wait a bit longer for his first Premier League appearance for United. He will probably play in the Carabao Cup against this season with Burnley up next for United in December.

De Gea has kept 174 clean sheets in his time at United – needing just one more to match Alex Stepney’s record at the club, which could be something he does this weekend. Failing that, it will have to wait until December with the FIFA World Cup on the horizon and club football being suspended for just over a month. United and De Gea could have this match won.

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw

United’s defence will be weaker without Diogo Dalot involved this weekend. It could well be that Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a way back into the squad this season after just four minutes of action so far. He was last on the bench at the start of the month against Real Sociedad, so Victor Lindelof could play in this position. Erik ten Hag will have a plan for this position.

Luke Shaw should start after being rested on Thursday evening in the 4-2 victory over Villa. He has been a positive player this season and seems to be finding his form at the right time, although the spoils of that could be had by England in the World Cup in Qatar. Shaw is a talented player and is one of the ingredients for United to find that success once again.

In the centre of defence, Harry Maguire could start with Lisandro Martinez. Both players will be heading to Qatar and might well feature against each other at some point – you never know. But I feel with Raphael Varane injured, Maguire is the better defender to partner Martinez as Lindelof seems to be prone to wobbles here and there. United have some good players here.

Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen

United’s defence could be back the first-choice players against Fulham after both were kind of rested against Villa on Thursday evening. Casemiro was missed for United with Fred not really up to the task of living up to the expectations at United for this match, which could be damaging for him in the future if it keeps on happening. We shall see what happens there.

Christian Eriksen was another player missed but he definitely needed a bit of a break ahead of Sunday’s match and participation in the World Cup for Denmark later this month. Eriksen continue his positive play when he came on against Villa with United pushing for the victory that they got – albeit it was a hard task at times. United have a great player here.

Substitutions will need to be made in this match and Scott McTominay will be one of those players after his goal at the end of the Villa victory, giving United a cushion and a good end to a match which saw a frustrating 45 minutes for both teams. McTominay seems to be thriving under Erik ten Hag at United and I am over the moon for him. He is a decent player for the club.

Attacking Midfield: Fernandes, Rashford, Garnacho

The attacking areas for United have some problems with Antony and Jadon Sancho seemingly still out of action but Erik ten Hag has made some changes to get through this period. Bruno Fernandes has played on the right more often than not recently and on Thursday, played well in the second half – even getting a goal and an assist in that match.

Marcus Rashford could benefit from the number ten role as on the right his impact has not been all that positive. Playing behind the striker could see a formation similar to a 4-4-2 or even a 4-4-1-1 which could benefit the striker. Rashford has eight goals and three assists so far this season and could be certain to add to that under the right conditions.

On the left-wing, United have a great up and coming player in Alejandro Garnacho. He may have missed out on a World Cup place this year but what he has achieved in the last few matches for United has been positive. He scored his debut goal against Real Sociedad and got two assists against Villa on Thursday. He’s a definite starter for me on Sunday.

Attack: Martial

Anthony Martial made his sixth appearance of the season against Villa on Thursday evening, playing 220 minutes of football in total so far. Not selected for the France squad in the World Cup, the striker has some time to get things working well at United after a season dominated by injury. He has played well though with four goals and two assists to his name so far.

Martial has a great pre-season but started the season with in injury. On his return, his good form continued but once again an injury put him out of action. On that return, again the form continued but so did the injuries. Back from his third lay off, Martial will need to keep his fitness this time and looks to start back-to-back matches for United.

In a good mood, Martial is a player for United. He can get some good goals and is a better option to Cristiano Ronaldo as he does not slow the play down as much. United seem to be better without Ronaldo in the team, which is a shame as the player has achieve so much in his career. I would have liked to see his best days at United, not the end of his career – which is what it seems.

Substitutes: De Gea; Lindelof, Malacia; Fred, Pellistri, Van de Beek, McTominay; Ronaldo, Elanga

Erik ten Hag will have nine players to choose from on the bench against Fulham this weekend. With Tom Heaton seemingly out of action still, it would be likely to see Martin Dubravka on the bench in this match with David De Gea starting. United need to dominate and there may need to be a number of substitutes used during the match.

In defence, it could well be that Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia will be the only defensive-minded players available with Diogo Dalot suspended and both Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon William still out due to injury. In the midfield, Fred, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay could all be available should they be needed.

In attack, an area that United are very light on at this time, it could well be that Cristiano Ronaldo, providing he is fit and Anthony Elanga are the only two forwards on the bench. However, Antony and Jadon Sancho could be passed fit to feature against Fulham, which seems a lot more likelier for Antony than for Sancho. I am sure United have enough firepower for this match.

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.