Manchester United-Fulham Preview

The Associated Press

David Moyes' first season at the helm of Manchester United isn't going exactly as planned, but recent results could be turning the tide.

Facing struggling Fulham may also help.

The Red Devils attempt to build on their recent success in various competitions by beating the Cottagers for the seventh straight time Saturday.

With Sir Alex Ferguson's shadow looming large, Moyes is tasked with keeping Manchester United (5-1-3) among the perennial contenders for the Premier League championship.

It's still very early, but that status has been somewhat dented with United sitting eighth in the table, eight points back of first-place Arsenal.

The Red Devils are already two defeats shy of last season's total, and that nearly became one last weekend at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez scored two minutes apart, and the late double salvo spared United further embarrassment in a 3-2 win over unfancied Stoke City.

Hernandez came up big again Tuesday, scoring a brace to send Manchester United on their way to a 4-0 victory over Norwich City in the Capital One Cup.

The win was also the third straight for United across three different competitions, and Ryan Giggs feels it's a signal of better days ahead.

"We've got the feeling that, somewhere along the line, we are going to score a load of goals," Giggs told the team's official website. "We have created a lot, especially in the last couple of games, whereas perhaps, before that, we didn't.

"That's encouraging and, with the quality we have got on the pitch, we should be scoring more goals. Why we're not, I don't know."

Scoring goals hasn't been much of an issue against Fulham (3-1-5). United have outscored them 21-5 while going 7-1-0 over the past eight overall meetings, winning six in a row behind 16 goals.

Rooney provided the difference in a 1-0 victory in the most recent matchup in London on Feb. 2.

In fact, the England international has feasted on the Cottagers, scoring 11 goals over his past 16 meetings.

Another big effort from Rooney would help United build on their momentum heading into a midweek Champions League meeting with Real Sociedad of Spain, before hosting the Gunners next weekend.

Fulham, though, are sputtering, following last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Southampton in league play with a stunning 4-3 loss at Leicester City of the Championship in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. They surrendered the decisive tally in the 89th minute after erasing a two-goal deficit two minute earlier.

"If it had gone to extra-time then I think we would have won the game, but that's football for you," midfielder Adel Taarabt told the team's official website. "We should have killed them once we scored the first goal but we stopped playing when we really should have scored a second and a third goal to kill the game."

Fulham now return to their familiar role as underdogs. After facing United, they'll visit Liverpool next week.

"We've got two big games now against Man United and Liverpool and we have to do everything we can to try and get points," Taarabt said.

The Cottagers haven't beaten Manchester United since a 3-0 thumping at home on Dec. 19, 2009.

What to Read Next