Man United geared to topple Fulham in Cup quarters

Fulham’s top-scorer Mitrovic to lead the attack at Old Trafford tomorrow. — AP

MANCHESTER United appear to have developed a preference for cup competitions over the English Premier League.

Well, at least that’s what it looks like on paper.

And tomorrow, that should be shown again despite facing what could be a tricky clash with Fulham at Old Trafford in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

But the Red Devils, who still believe they have an outside chance of winning four trophies this season, should get the better of a Fulham outfit that have themselves punched well above their weight this season.

Man United won the Carabao League Cup final last month and followed that up with a place in the Europa League quarterfinals in midweek.

They put an end to the aspirations of Spain’s Real Betis, carving out a 5-1 aggregate win in the round of 16’s first leg tie.

The odds are stacked in the Red Devils’ favour when they meet the Cottagers tomorrow. But any complacency is likely to be dealt with rather harshly by the Londoners.

Casemiro’s absence could work against Erik ten Hag’s home team. The midfielder was handed a four-match suspension after receiving his second red card of the campaign in the drawn fixture against Southampton last weekend.

Fulham’s run to the last eight of the FA Cup, world football’s oldest club cup competition, vividly demonstrates their good form.

They are also eighth in the league standings, where only defeats in their last two outings have stalled steady advances in their bid for a slot in European football next season.

It is Aleksandar Mitrovic that the club will likely look to mostly as a source for goals against Man United. The Serbian has 11 to his credit in the league and been their front-runner by some margin.

Manager Marco Silva has done well in this campaign, following the club’s promotion from the Championship Division.

The Portuguese boss has gotten his side to play a brand of football that is both attacking and enjoyable to watch.

Silva, appointed to take charge in July 2021 after they were relegated, has guided them to a half-decent defensive record, having conceded 37 goals in the league – just two more than Man United, who have also scored three more and played one game fewer.

Needless to say, Fulham can give as much as they can take.

Indeed, tomorrow’s cup match could turn out to be a closely fought tie. But Manchester United will be tipped to win it, and with their impressive cup form this season they should well do so.

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