A Saturday teatime trip to Craven Cottage awaits Manchester United as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table to ten points. Fulham will inevitably provide as sterner test than they did in the FA Cup last Saturday, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be wary of the dangers this fixture poses
David de Gea – Despite the fact Anders Lindegaard is inevitably due some game time soon, de Gea as number one is the favourite to start on goal on Saturday.
Rafael – After a rest on Wednesday, Rafael should be raring to go on Saturday at right-back.
Rio Ferdinand – Ferguson has stated that Ferdinand will start against Fulham after two games on the bench.
Phil Jones – It is hard to predict Ferdinand’s defensive partner on Saturday but the general pattern has been of rest for Nemanja Vidic after a game. Therefore the in-form Phil Jones might line-up alongside Ferdinand at centre-back.
Patrice Evra – Evra is once again racking up lots of appearances for United and is surely going to start on Saturday.
Nani – Nani was chosen to come off the bench against Southampton ahead of Antonio Valencia and that preference from Ferguson may be in evidence again on Saturday.
Michael Carrick – Because Carrick is such a stalwart of the United starting XI, it would be hard to bet against starting on Saturday but after a poor performance in midweek he may well be rested. The odds are on him to start however.
Tom Cleverley – Cleverley is set to return alongside Carrick after being on the bench in recent weeks.
Shinji Kagawa – The Japanese attacker performed admirably amongst a mess against Southampton on Wednesday. His good form means he is in line for another start on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney – Rooney was another who performed decently on Wednesday and is beginning to hit some form. Undroppable at his best, Rooney is likely to start and continue a good recent scoring run.
Robin van Persie – Van Persie was quiet against Southampton but his movement was still praiseworthy, and he will be looking to continue to build his partnership with Rooney.
As on Wednesday evening, a 4-2-3-1 formation is likely to be used on Saturday. Rooney, Nani and Kagawa will provide a fluid, technical attacking trio behind the spearhead of Robin van Persie. Shinji Kagawa on the left-side offers a different threat as he cuts inside and drifts in between the lines.
Some of United’s important players are set for midweek action for their international sides, and this may have a bearing on Ferguson’s game tactics as the match wares on. Some key international players may be brought off and rested, whilst Jonny Evans may be fortunate enough to pick-up some game time as he looks to return from injury.