Man Utd could move into the top four, with a win against a struggling Fulham side.
Fulham v Man Utd
Saturday 9th February, 12:30
English Premier League
Fulham have had a miserable return to the Premier League this season. They currently sit in 19th position and their form has seen them pick up one win and five losses in the last six matches. Within this period, they have conceded fourteen goals, which means they have averaged over two goals conceded per game (2.33).
Despite leaking goals, Fulham have been able to score goals. Ranieri’s men have only failed to score once in the last six games, the one game they failed to score in was in their last game against Crystal Palace last weekend. A stat which will give Ranieri hope in this match would be that his side’s twenty-five goals scored in the league is the highest goals tally of the teams in the relegation zone. Games involving Fulham this season have been full of goals. Fulham games have averaged over three goals per game this season (3.20). However Fulham only contribute one goal in the game (1.00).
At home, Fulham’s defence have shown they improve while playing at Craven Cottage this season. Whilst playing on home soil, Fulham have reduced the opposition to just averaging just a goal per game (1.92) compared to the two goals per game (2.46) the opposing team score when Fulham are playing away. In terms of scoring goals, Fulham also score more at home, as they average under a goal per game (0.62) whilst playing away, but when playing at home they score on average just over a goal per game (1.42).
In a stark contrast to Fulham, Man Utd can harbor high expectations to win this match. Not only is their form streaks ahead of Fulham’s, Man Utd can move up the table into Champions League Positions if they can get a win here. Chelsea, who are in 4th currently, play on Sunday against Man City. Man Utd moving into 4th, would put pressure on Chelsea to get a result against the league leaders.
Man Utd are currently unbeaten in ten matches in all competitions. The revival sparked by the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given the Manchester club a new lease of life. In the ten matches before the sacking of Jose Mourinho, Man Utd only managed sixteen goals in ten matches in all competitions, which averages out to little over a goal per game (1.60). Whereas under Solskjaer, the Red Devils have averaged over two goals per game (2.50) having scored twenty-five in all competitions. It can be argued that Mourinho’s stats included Champions League games, we are yet to see if Solskjaer is able to contend with Europe’s elite as a manager.
Man Utd’s stats while playing away suggest that they are less susceptible to conceding goals as they are when they play at Old Trafford. Only 8% of home games ended with Man Utd earning a clean sheet, but when Man Utd play away from home they have picked up clean sheets in 31% of their matches. In the four away matches Solskjaer has taken charge of in the league, Man Utd have only conceded one, they’ve travelled to the King Power Stadium, St James’ Park and Wembley and picked up three win to nil victories.
Fulham don’t have many injury woes necessarily, but it’s the individuals who are missing that doesn’t bode well for the home side. Fulham will likely still be without their defender Alfie Mawson. He is critical for the London club, as his presence in the six games before his injury, seen his side concede only eight in six. However since his absence, Fulham have conceded fourteen in six and have been knocked out of the FA Cup whilst the young English defender has been out with injury. Also, it will be touch and go for Andre Schurrle to return as he picked up a knock in their match with Brighton which kept him out of their last match with Crystal Palace.
Man Utd have no new injury concerns, with Marcos Rojo still out through long term injury.
Man Utd are priced at 4/7 to beat Fulham and go into the match as favourites. Fulham have been given odds of 9/2 to win. I wouldn’t look past Man Utd in this game. Simply looking at the form of both sides, Fulham would have to pull off a major upset to get anything out of this game. As well as this Man Utd have shown they can put teams facing relegation to the sword, apart from drawing with Burnley at home, Man Utd have beaten Huddersfield 3-1, Cardiff City 5-1 and Newcastle 2-0. In addition to this Man Utd beat Fulham in the reverse fixture, at Old Trafford, 4-1.
To add value to the bet it would be worth looking at the both teams to score and goal markets. With Fulham’s last six games ending with over 1.5 goals being scored and four out of six of Man Utd’s games ending this way, a bet of Man Utd to win and over 1.5 goals, priced at 4/5, holds value. It would be a risk to increase the amount of goals to 2.5 goals which would get odds of 11/10. I would be wary of a bet like this as Man Utd have failed to score two or more goals in three of their last four away matches. With Fulham showing they improve in terms of goals when they play at Craven Cottage, Man Utd to win and both teams to score grows in potential as a winning bet. Bookies price at Man Utd and both teams to score bet at 15/8. The only drawback would be having to wait for a Fulham goal as a dominant Man Utd may well stifle any fight back from the home side.
Another market to be mindful of is the half time markets. Fulham have been losing at half time in 56% of their home and away matches, couple that with Fulham’s first half record of under a goal per first half (0.67), Fulham will be particularly vulnerable to Man Utd due to this. Man Utd on the other hand have averaged at least a goal in the first half this season (1.08) and have been winning at half time in 48% of their games both home and away. The bookies will give you odds of 11/10 for Man Utd to be winning at half time.
The last market you should consider in this match is the card markets. Man Utd have averaged at least 20 booking points per game in the last six matches and are top of the fair play league for the division. At the same time, Fulham have averaged the same amount of booking points having picked up thirteen bookings in six games. For there to be 35 to 40 booking point in the game, you can get odds of around 4/1.
Man Utd to win and Over 1.5 Goals (11/10)
35 to 40 Booking points (4/1)