After needing a replay to beat West Ham in the 3rd Round, hopefully we will have an easier job of getting past Fulham today. There’s just two points separating those teams in the league, so we’re looking at a similar team in terms of quality, but the Hammers have Carlton Cole playing up front, whilst Fulham have former RoM favourite, Dimitar Berbatov. Fulham have scored just two goals less than 5th placed Everton this season so should pose more of a threat to our defence than West Ham did.
You imagine Ferguson will be looking to give more game time to Wayne Rooney to try and help improve his form. Despite scoring against West Ham in the last round, he put in a distinctly average performance and missed a penalty, which is becoming fairly standard for him now. He came on against Spurs for Shinji Kagawa and his arrival coincided with a decline in our performance. Kagawa’s pass completion rate had been 93% whilst Rooney’s was just 64%. However, if Rooney had been awarded a penalty for that blatant foul then maybe I would have more positive things to say about him. He’s a great player though and as we start to approach the run in it would be great to have him at his best, and minutes on the pitch today should help with that.
Only Ashley Young and Jonny Evans are missing at the moment, meaning Fergie has plenty of players to pick from. I’d really like us to persevere with Nani, even if the signing of Wilf Zaha suggests our Portuguese winger will be off in the summer. Antonio Valencia’s form has been poor this season so maybe he will be given another opportunity to show what he can do. We’ve got Southampton in a few days time so we will probably be looking at rotating. Southampton are just one place below Fulham in the league, so you imagine that Fergie will be picking the stronger team for the game he values more. He really is keen to get his hands on the FA Cup again but we shouldn’t be underestimating anyone in the league after losing points last week. The next couple of games are must win.
Of course I’m expecting a warm reception for Berbatov, the man who made our 19th title winning season possible, although after being criticised for not scoring often enough in the big games, you have to wonder whether he’ll pull one out of the bag today.
Hopefully whatever Berba does today it will be irrelevant and we’ll be in the draw for the 5th Round. Whilst being knocked out at any stage wouldn’t be a disaster, as it would mean we had fewer games to play like City and Chelsea, since they didn’t get out of their Champions League groups, I’d love us to have a good cup run.
bwin bets – £20 wins you…
Rooney to score first – £85
Berbatov to score any time – £90
Fulham to score first – £92