Scary Monsters

Posted by Phil Mison

Danny Welbeck Manchester United celeb v FulhamEmpicsManchester United are odds-on to improve their record over Fulham.

Long-time followers of this blog know of my penchant for dropping in the odd music reference to test your knowledge. Admittedly, nothing post 2000 ever gets alluded to, but sorry kids, like it or not we had all the best tunes back in the day. Anyway it seemed appropriate to acknowledge Halloween this week -- and here we have the mighty Fulham FC about to face their own worst nightmare with a visit from Manchester United.

Will Craven Cottage turn into the 'House of Horrors' this Saturday? I fear so.

Despite that sluggish start to the season I sense things starting to come together for David Moyes. Yes, a week ago the Reds were really getting it in the neck from their "loyal supporters" at Old Trafford as the Champions struggled to put Stoke to the sword. But it all came good in the end. Feeble Norwich were duly despatched in mid week Cup action, so that makes it three wins on the trot now for United in all competitions.

There are simply too many star names on the books for the Reds not to come through whatever kind of challenge Fulham manage to mount this week. Robin van Persie is returning to full fitness, if he plays his predatory instincts are legendary. Wayne Rooney is often good for a goal against us -- scoring the winner back in February when the sides last met in the league. While Marouane Fellaini, who is yet to really get going under Moyes, must relish his chances of getting his head to one of the many corners United are likely to force.

With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand together in harness at the back there is little danger in Fulham finding a way through to goal. The Whites are simply way too easy for opponents to counter at present, with no pace or aerial presence to unsettle sides. The team has looked short on goals since early last winter, the arrival of Adel Taarabt and Darren Bent over the summer doing little to remedy matters. Only ‘worldies’ such as the two we saw skew the result at Crystal Palace might upset the odds in this one.

Ironically, the one man who turned up on Tuesday in the defeat at Leicester, two goal Hugo Rodallega, is out for two weeks having strained a groin in the match. Martin Jol has no options but to return the starting eleven who failed so miserably last week against Southampton -- a performance that some are calling the worst ever displayed by a Premier League side.

The stats are so overwhelming it is amazing the manager still has his job. The lowest percentage of crosses in the League, the lowest number of shots on goal, the highest number of corners conceded and the highest number of late goals against.

Without wishing to denigrate or undermine my own team ahead of one of the toughest matches in the programme by name calling individuals, all of the above screams the system and tactics repeatedly preached by our manager are the obvious cause.

It is all well and good for Jol to say everything at Fulham is fine, and that with the club sitting in 14th place there are other managers worse off than him and under greater pressure. That may not be the case by December. A testing run of fixtures kicks off with the biggest team in the history of the Premier League at Craven Cottage -- with United hot favourites to win, and win comfortably.

Having been so assiduously courted by Chief Executive Alastair Mckintosh, Jol thinks he's fireproof. He's wrong. I think he knows only too well the game is up, and he's just sitting tight to take his pay-off. Should Fulham emerge pointless from Saturday's game and the trip to Anfield that follows, owner Shad Khan will use the next international break to make a change.

Fulham cannot afford to wait much longer. The Jol brand of football is driving people away from the club. Here's hoping for a face-saving display at least Saturday, for what could well be Martin Jol's last home game in charge. United have won the last five meetings between us, while Fulham have only beaten the Reds three times over the years. Saturday won't be a fourth.

Cheer yourself up beforehand by grabbing a copy of David Lloyd's latest bumper fanzine. It's a cracker!COYW!

twitter@fulhamphil

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