Fulham vs Manchester United Preview: Cottagers look to test Solskjær's unbeaten record
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Fulham vs Manchester United Preview: Cottagers look to test Solskjær's unbeaten record

The west Londoners host the Red Devils at Craven Cottage on Saturday lunchtime, looking to end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's unbeaten run as Manchester United caretaker boss.

Neil Leverett

Fulham will look for their second home Premier League win on the bounce this weekend, as an unbeaten Ole Gunnar Solskjær brings his Manchester United troops to Craven Cottage on Saturday lunchtime.

Despite remaining mired at the foot of the table and facing an uphill battle to avoid and immediate return to the Championship, the Cottagers have climbed off the bottom of the standings, and are showing signs of life in the fight against relegation.

Those faint glimmers of existence however will be sorely tested this weekend, as the Red Devils roll into west London, with Solskjaer having dropped just two points in the eight games since taking the helm following Jose Mourinho's sacking in December.

Signs of life by Thames

With the Cottagers seven points from safety, Fulham will be keen on picking up further crumbs in the basement battle, and despite a loss last time out, hopes for a revival particular on their own turf are being rekindled.

A comprehensive 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace was not the sort of momentum boost Claudio Ranieri was seeking after witnessing his side come from two goals down to Brighton & Hove Albion at home in late January - driven by a resurgent Aleksandar Mitrovic - but as Fulham return home, Premier League comfort may yet be found on the Thames.

Indeed, since the Italian took charge in the Fulham dugout, the Whites have picked up 11 points at home - almost double the amount the club had taken pre-November as a points total for the first third of the campaign.. 

There is no doubt in the minds of many that the Cottagers are on a upwards turn in terms of both points allotted and performances, however their opponents this weekend will not be in any mood for charity on the banks of the capital.

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Solskjaer Red Devil revival rolls on

Whilst this weekend's hosts have been on somewhat of a revival, United have had an almost complete renaissance under their new Finnish caretaker steward.

From his eight games the former United fan favourite has been in charge of, Solskjær has collected a total of 22 points from a possible 24, as the Red Devil fanbase has again taken the Baby Faced Assassin to their hearts once more.

With the shackles seemingly off of the visitors' attacking efforts, the likes of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have finally been let off the leash, but not only that as their trip to Leicester City showed last weekend, United's defence has also begun to stand up and be counted.

Having seen their top four hopes given a major shot in the arm in recent weeks, United will be eager to remain with their shooting boots firmly laced up, looking to expose a Fulham defence that whilst has undoubtedly improved, still has a number of weaknesses waiting to be exploited.

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United boast imperious record

This will be the 28th time the two sides have met in the Premier League, with Fulham having won just three times since 2001. In their last nine meetings in both league and cup, the Cottagers have drawn just one game and lost the other eight.

This weekend's hosts have not beaten United at home since 2009, when the Whites completed a back-to-back double in successive seasons.

Winding the clock back to December 2009, goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff completed a resounding 3-0 win over Sir Alex Ferguson's charges, as Craven Cottage enjoyed a rare home win. 

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Team News

Fulham are sweating on the fitness of a number of players for this weekend's clash.

Forward Andre Schürrle is doubtful with a knock, whilst Andre-Zambo Anguissa is set to miss out due to an ankle injury. Defender Cyrus Christie is also a doubt for the game (knock).

Centre-back Alfie Mawson and goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli meanwhile, are both ruled out.

Solskjaer is again without full-back Antonio Valencia, with the Ecuadorian struggling with a muscle problem.

Fellow right-back Matteo Darmian is also absent for the trip to London, whilst Marcos Rojo is closing in on a return to action in the coming weeks.