Old Trafford redemption for Man United against Fulham

Old Trafford redemption for Man United against Fulham

Old Trafford redemption for Man United against Fulham

They say the condition for a miracle is difficulty; the condition for a great miracle is impossibility. That’s the faith that Martin Jol will be having when his Fulham side visit the Theatre of Dreams. Having skinned Norwich City alive last weekend, in a 5-0 thumping, the Cottagers will be high on adrenalin when facing a hurting Man United side that is seeking to make amends for Monday night’s Goodison Park defeat.

Dutchman Jol will be hoping his compatriot, Robin van Persie, will be given the kind of service he received at Everton. For he knows that, with a week’s training alongside Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa, the former Arsenal man will be eyeing a grand performance in his Old Trafford debut, in a fixture that marks a one-year anniversary since the Red Devils’ 8-2 demolition of the Gunners.

Nevertheless, with an injury plaguing the red behemoth’s defense, the Londoners may just take the Toffees cue and harass Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia. Though they provide utility services, both are not defenders, one is a playmaker, the other a winger. United may have a plethora of stars to fill any attacking position, with exemplary Dimitar Berbatov even being considered surplus, but it’s the defense that may prove the Achilles’ heel for the 19-time champions.

Last season, it capitulated when Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges were leading the grid by 8 points. For all their goal-scoring exploits, they had to settle for second best, as their noisy neighbors won on goal difference. This time round, Marouane Fellaini harassed the defense, before flooring Carrick as he headed in the winning goal. No Ferdinand, Jones, Evans, Smalling and possibly Rafael. Tough times.

Truth is, for any Mancunian fan, there’s no need to press any panic button, as that particular defeat is what may have been needed to jumpstart United’s quest for premiership supremacy. With Kagawa, Rooney, RVP, Nani, Valencia and Paul Scholes commanding an attacking lineup, Jol will know a backlash may not be a far-fetched dream. And with David de Gea in such fine form, chances are that Fulham won’t win at Manchester for the first time since 2003.

Even without most of the specialist defenders in place, United have what it takes to turn the Cottagers into a full ham sandwich.

Stamford Bridge above raging waters

It couldn’t have been a better start for Chelsea this season. Top of the pile and playing their best attacking football, Roberto Di Matteo and his boss, Roman Abramovich, couldn’t have asked for more. But as the Stamford Bridge faithful gear up for a second home league game, they’ll know their visitors are capable of shattering the Blues’ highs, in what seems to be a mouthwatering affair.

Newcastle United are looking to extend their unbeaten streak at Stamford Bridge, that currently stands at four matches. Actually, last season, a Papiss Cisse-inspired Magpies handed the Pensioners a 2-0 defeat as the last season entered its final month. Whenever the Toons mean business, they mean it big, what with the manner in which Alan Pardew has transformed the Newcastle upon Tyne club. Tottenham Hotspurs were the first to be dismissed this season, will the hammer fall on the West Londoners?

Well, most likely not. Eden Hazard has been a tremendous purchase. Chelsea has scored six goals, and he has had five assists to his name. Value for money. He will definitely be looking to harass Cheikh Tiote and Yohan Cabaye, as he seeks to supply the rejuvenated Fernando Torres. But his work may be undone, if Cisse and Demba Ba can do what Reading couldn’t; finish off a defense that seems to be interested in attack.

The Pensioners have recently brought in Wigan’s Victor Moses and Marseille’s Cesar Azpilicueta as Roman seeks the English crown. However, the Magpies are the first real hurdle for the European champions, and if they can’t be overcome, then the title hopes will start fading. If the Blues win, this season will not be a two-horse race.

Saturday 25th August

2:45pm     Swansea – West Ham, Liberty Stadium, SS3

5pm:          Tottenham Hotspurs – West Brom, White Hart Lane, SS3

5pm:          Aston Villa – Everton, Villa Park, SS5

5pm:          Man United – Fulham, Old Trafford, SS7

5pm:          Southampton – Wigan, St. Mary’s, SSMaximo

7:30pm     Chelsea – Newcastle, Stamford Bridge, SS3

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