Preview: Pellistri to start against Fulham with Weghorst & Rashford? Fernandes, McTominay & Sabitzer to stabilise United’s midfield?

Manchester United -v- Fulham

Emirates FA Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 19 March 2023, KO 16:30 GMT

Manchester United face Fulham in the Emirates FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Erik ten Hag’s side will play their second quarter final of the season days after reaching their third quarter final in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face Sevilla over two legs next month. This match against Fulham is the final match for United prior to the international break, then the season will continue with United playing nine matches in April – another busy month.

Should United beat Fulham and earn a semi final place in the FA Cup this season, the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League would be postponed as that is the weekend the semi finals will be played at Wembley, so United would need to find the time to reschedule that match, plus the one against Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend. Should United go all the way in both competitions, they will have a busy period ahead.

United and Fulham have already met at Craven Cottage in the Premier League this season, just prior to the FIFA World Cup where United won 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in in the last minute of added time. United will face Fulham again at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season. The draw for the semi final of the FA Cup should be done prior to this match commencing, providing extra time is not needed between Brighton and Grimsby Town.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Real Betis 1-0 W, Southampton 0-0 D, Real Betis 4-1 W, Liverpool 7-0 L, West Ham United 3-1 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W

Goals: 27 – Marcus Rashford, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Antony, 6 – Fred, Anthony Martial, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw

Assists: 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, 7 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Casemiro, Luke Shaw, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Fred, Wout Weghorst, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Antony, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Fulham – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Arsenal 3-0 L, Brentford 3-2 L, Leeds United 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 W, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W

Goals: 11 – Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 – Manor Solomon, 4 – Bobby De Cordova-Reid, João Palhinha, 3 – Andreas Pereira, Willian, 2 – Dan James, Layvin Kurzawa, Harrison Reed, Carlos Vinícius, 1 – Tom Cairney, Issa Diop, Tim Ream, Tosin, Harry Wilson

Assists: 6 – Andreas Pereira, 4 – Kenny Tete, 3 – Neeskens Kebano, Aleksandar Mitrovic, 2 – Carlos Vinícius, Willian, 1 – Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Shane Duffy, Layvin Kurzawa, Kevin Mbabu, Harrison Reed, Antonee Robinson

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Fulham have met 87 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs. United have won 53 times, drawn 20 times and lost 14 times. Earlier this season United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage, just prior to the FIFA World Cup with Christian Eriksen and Alejandro Garnacho scoring either side of Dan James’ equaliser. This will be the second meeting of the two teams this season – United face Fulham at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match this season.

United and Fulham have met 14 times in the FA Cup – United have won eight times, drawn four times and lost twice. The last defeat to Fulham in the FA Cup came back in 1908. United have scored 27 goals, conceded 15 and kept four clean sheets. The last time the two teams met in the FA Cup was back in 2013 – a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford with Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and a brave from Javier Hernandez before Aaron Hughes scored a late consolation goal.

Andreas Pereira, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Edwin van de Sar, Paul Parker, Kieran Richardson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Chris Smalling, Tim Fosu-Mensah, George Best and Charlie Mitten have all played for both Manchester United and Fulham. Best is probably the most well-known along with van de Sar, Parker, Cole, Berbatov, Mitten Saha and Smalling. Pereira is doing well at Fulham after being sold by United. He has three goals and six assists in 31 appearances so far.

Team News

Donny van de Beek (knee), Christian Eriksen (ankle) and Alejandro Garnacho (ankle) have all been ruled out of the match against Fulham because of injury. Anthony Martial will also miss this match despite having returned to training in the last few weeks. Antony missed the 1-0 victory over Real Betis due to illness and is a doubt ahead of this match but has not been ruled out yet. Casemiro is also out due to suspension and will miss the next four domestic matches.

Marcel Sabitzer has had a spell on the sidelines recently but he returned to action as a second half substitute against Betis on Thursday evening, so should play a part in this match with Casemiro suspended and United needing a competent midfield. Scott McTominay and Fred could also play a part. Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and McTominay were all unused substitutes on Thursday so will be fresh ahead of this match. Facundo Pellistri could also start again for United.

Layvin Kurzawa (knee), Tom Cairney (ankle/foot) and Neeskens Kebano (ruptured Achilles) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford in the FA Cup on Sunday. Willian (lower back) currently has a 50% chance of making this match, but is a doubt. Cedric Soares will be back in the squad after being ineligible to feature again his parent club in Fulham’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal. João Palhinha was suspended for the Arsenal defeat and will be back in the squad this weekend.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Fernandes, McTominay, Sabitzer;

Pellistri, Weghorst, Rashford

Predicted Fulham Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Leno;

Tete, Adarabiyo, Ream, Robinson;

Reed, Palhinha;

Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Soloman;

Mitrovic

Match Prediction

United will need to beat Fulham to reach the semi final stage of the Emirates FA Cup this season. Fulham are no longer a push over and have shown that with their form in the Premier League this season – currently sitting in ninth with 39 points – just three shy of sixth-placed Liverpool although Liverpool have a game in hand over them. They could be seeking a place in a European competition next season providing they do well in their next few matches, which is important.

That said, they face relegation candidates Bournemouth, West Ham United, Everton and Leeds United in their next four Premier League matches so they will be confident of putting together a push for the UEFA Europa League to the UEFA Europa Conference League next season, which would probably be the better competition for them to aim for. United have beaten Fulham already this season and will face them on the final day of the Premier League season at Old Trafford.

United will need to play more confidently from the start at the Theatre of Dreams and will want to extend their 21-match unbeaten run at home this season. United seem to be fatigued of late and did not spring into action until the 55th minute against Betis on Thursday evening and looked disjointed against Southampton last weekend. Fulham have had a week’s rest with United having just two full days to recover following Thursday’s Europa League round of 16 victory.

Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

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.