Paul Merson explains his prediction for Fulham v Man United

Paul Merson is expecting to see Man United sign off for the World Cup break with a 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson is backing Manchester United to return to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday.

The Red Devils head into the game knowing that they will be outside of the top four over Christmas, with Erik ten Hag’s side currently fifth in the table and six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur – although they have played two games less than the north Londoners.

Manchester United will be eager to sign off until after Christmas with a victory as they look to continue their push for a top-four finish in Ten Hag’s first campaign in charge.

Recent history in this fixture certainly makes good reading for Manchester United, with Fulham having failed to win in 14 meetings with the Red Devils in all competitions since December 2009.

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Merson feels that the Red Devils should have no problems against the Cottagers this weekend and he is backing them to claim a 2-1 victory in London.

Writing in his column for Sportskeeda, Merson said: “Fulham were unlucky against Manchester City the other day. They’re already halfway there in terms of getting the points they need to survive in the Premier League – they need four wins from their 24 remaining games. If they look at it like that, this game is a free hit. There’s no pressure at all on Fulham, and that makes it a dangerous game for Manchester United.

“Man United suffered a bit of a shock the other day against Aston Villa. I don’t care who you are – you can’t afford to be 2-0 down in seven minutes. It’s an uphill battle after. Aston Villa started the game really well, but you cannot afford to concede head starts like that in the Premier League.

Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag (Photo: Mark Cosgrove / depositphotos.com)

“A lot depends on Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fitness at the moment. The World Cup starts next week and this could be a tricky fixture for him. Manchester United have been consistent under Erik ten Hag and should be able to win this game.”

Meanwhile, former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra is also backing the Red Devils to claim a victory on Sunday, tipping them to secure a 2-0 away win and for them to be inspired by playmaker Bruno Fernandes.

Writing in his own column for Metro ahead of Sunday’s game, Evra said: “I hope we see Maguire playing, he needs the minutes. For Fulham, a lot depends on if Mitrovic is fit, if he’s fit I think Fulham could get a win.

“I’m glad that Bruno Fernandes is back, that will shut up a lot of critics who said he needed a rest, he wasn’t on the pitch against Aston Villa last weekend and we got bullied in the midfield.”

Under new boss Ten Hag, Manchester United have won seven of their 13 games this season, drawing two and losing the other four.

Former Chelsea FC star Chris Sutton feels that Manchester United are likely to struggle against Fulham and he is tipping the Red Devils to lose 2-1 at Craven Cottage.

“I actually think Erik ten Hag should be happy with his first few months of work at Old Trafford but we saw last week when they lost at Aston Villa that he has not solved all his problems, and it feels to me like they are a team who needs the World Cup break to regroup and to go again,” Sutton wrote in his column for BBC Sport.

Chris Sutton

Ex-Chelsea FC striker Chris Sutton (Photo: BT Sport)

“Ten Hag has made a few baffling decisions of late – using Harry Maguire as a striker against Real Sociedad and then making Cristiano Ronaldo captain against Villa.

“His side have lost three games on the road already this season and I think they will come a cropper at Craven Cottage too.

“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed by the way Fulham played against Manchester City’s 10 men for an hour last weekend, but they didn’t seem to have any belief they would win at Etihad Stadium. Things should be different on their own patch and I think they will spring one final shock before the season stops.”

Manchester United will return to Premier League action after the 2022 World Cup when they take on Nottingham Forest at home on 27 December. They will then travel to face Wolves on New Year’s Eve.

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