Manchester United competed well in Sunday's stalemate at Liverpool, and Kevin Hatchard expects them to take all three points at Craven Cottage.
"United are exceptional on their travels, and should win this, but Fulham's recent defensive displays suggest it won't be easy."
Fulham v Manchester United
Wednesday 20 January, 20:15
Live on BT Sport 1
Fulham's grit gives them hope of escape
It's hard to change a team's mindset and approach during a season, but Fulham boss Scott Parker has done it admirably. The Cottagers looked flaky and disjointed in the opening games of the season, but an influx of signings have helped them become a much tougher and more resilient outfit. The weekend's 1-0 derby defeat to Chelsea was a prime example - Fulham played most of the match with ten men after a red card for Antonee Robinson, but they held out until the 78th minute.
Fulham have held Tottenham and Liverpool to draws, they have won at Leicester and they only lost 2-0 at Manchester City. Their last seven PL matches have featured fewer than three goals, and they have only conceded multiple goals once in that spell.
On the flipside, Parker's men are struggling to score. They have drawn a blank in their last three home matches, and they've only managed three goals in the last seven league outings. None of their strikers have netted more than twice, and midfielder Bobby De Cordova-Reid is the top scorer with four. If the West Londoners are to bridge the four-point gap to safety, they have to start taking their chances on a more regular basis.
Fulham are without the suspended Robinson, and De Cordova-Reid is also out after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Chelsea.
United unscathed after Anfield trip
While Manchester United will have come away from Anfield with some regrets on Sunday, having truly extended Liverpool keeper Alisson on several occasions, a goalless draw against the Premier League champions is nothing to be sniffed at.
The Red Devils still lead their old foes by three points, and although the Manchester City juggernaut is still rumbling ominously, United have defied expectations and are in the mix for their first league title since 2013. At time of writing, they are 8.615/2 third-favourites in the Premier League Winner market on the Exchange, with Manchester City the 1.645/8 favourites and Liverpool trading at 5.24/1.
There is another clash with Liverpool on the horizon in the FA Cup, but in terms of team selection it would be a surprise to see Solskjaer rest a clutch of key players for this trip to West London. There may however be a change in attack, with Uruguayan veteran Edinson Cavani pushing hard for a start. Considering that Anthony Martial has scored just one goal in his last seven games, and Marcus Rashford hasn't found the net in five outings, there's an argument to freshen things up in that department.
United's away form remains outstanding in the top flight. They haven't lost on the road for a year in the Premier League, and they have won 11 of their last 13 PL away games. That's the kind of form champions produce, and if they avoid defeat on Wednesday they'll equal the club record, a run of 17 PL away games without losing. Our friends at Opta tell us that United have won their last four league games at Fulham, and in the clubs' last 11 meetings at this level, the Old Trafford club have racked up nine wins.
It might not be pretty, but United should win
Fulham have only won once at home, and although I expect them to be gritty opponents here, United are worthy favourites. We can use the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi (see offer below) to back United to win and for there to be Under 3.5 Goals at combined odds of 2.21.
If you are just looking for a goals bet, it's worth considering Under 2.5 Goals on the Exchange at 2.186/5, which has paid out in Fulham's last eight competitive games.
Bruno to land knockout blow?
Although he looked a little jaded against Liverpool, Bruno Fernandes is always worth a look in the To Score market, and he is priced at 5/4 to find the net here. He takes penalties, he takes free-kicks (he came close with one at Anfield) and he has scored in seven of his last 16 appearances in all competitions. Keep an eye on the team news, and if Bruno starts, back him to find the net.
Kevin Hatchard 2020-21 English Football P/L
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