Fulham play their first home game of the season Sunday against Manchester United at Craven Cottage. The game takes place at 4PM UK time and 11 AM EST. The game will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel live in the United States. This will be Mark Hughes first regular season home game debut as manager of the Cottagers. Hughes will have a very tough task on his hands figuring out a way to beat Manchester United.
Fulham have beaten Manchester United the last two seasons at Craven Cottage. To beat them a third year in a row is a massive challenge. I have watched Manchester United several times already this summer. They demolished the MLS All Star team in a friendly match in Houston Texas. I saw them look like the superior club in winning the Community Shield against Chelsea. On Monday I watched them again just take apart Newcastle. This is only the second game of the season and Manchester United look sharp early.
Manchester United are led by Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov upfront. However, this time around they will have Nemanja Vidic back on defense and Edwin Van der Sar in the net. Fulham are going to have to be at their best to win this game.
Going into the game Fulham have the Mark Schwarzer situation hanging over their heads. To beat a club of this quality Fulham are going to have block out this distraction and play as a unit. Since the game is at home Fulham always have a chance at victory. It will be a tough game but victory is possible on Sunday. Below are"my 5 keys to victory for Fulham against Manchester United."
1. Fuham need to come out aggressive and be attacking from the opening whistle. I think some teams are beaten by Manchester United before the game even starts. Some clubs come out conservative and play not to lose. For Fulham to win they need to show no fear and be as attacking as possible.
In the last two matches at Craven Cottage Fulham came out and pushed forward. They played to win. I am hoping they will come out and play a similar style they played at Bolton. The club definitely looked more offensive than I had seen in the last two seasons on the road. The will need that type of play on Sunday to be successful.
2. Fuham need to be either tied or ahead by half time. Manchester United is not a club you want to get behind on. If they can survive the first half, Fulham would have the confidence to push more forward in the second half.
3. Danny Murphy needs to be a Manchester United killer once again. For some reason Danny Murphy has been a thorn in the side of Manchester United when he was a player at Liverpool and also at Fulham. Murphy still has the ability to control the midfield for Fulham. The club desperately needs his sharp passing tomorrow. If Murphy is on that is a very positive sign for the Cottagers.
4. The back four of Fulham need to contain Rooney and Berbatov. Fulham's defense was exceptional last week against Bolton. Paul Konchesky did not play, but Stephen Kelly stepped up and played a great game. I don't think you can stop the strikers of Manchester United. You need to limit their touches as much as possible. It is going to be up to the back four to do a great job on Sunday.
5. Fulham need a big game from Bobby Zamora. Last season Zamora was huge in the big games. He will need to be at his best on Sunday. When he is physical up front he can be a tough player to contain.
He is still the main goal score for the club. However, he also has the ability to assist his teammates in scoring. If Zamora is a major presence, Fulham have a shot at victory.
Whenever you play against the best in your league it is a high profile game. It should be a huge challenge for Fulham, and I am hoping they can figure out a way to get a victory.