Saturday’s match for Manchester United against Fulham is suddenly a little more difficult than it appears. Yes, the bunch from Craven Cottage is looking more and more likely like a relegation side, the kind once known as “easy pickings” for a Manchester United side.
But David Moyes’ men are having a bit of injury trouble, as Jonny Evans, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones are all now in doubt.
And you know what: it doesn’t matter.
United still has the game-breakers, still has the Old Trafford edge and still has better talent throughout the lineup. So make no mistake: Sunday’s match is an absolute, positive must-have for Moyes (pictured) and Co.
That’s not just about the relatively weak opposition; Fulham currently sit very bottom of the table. It’s about United getting up, dusting off and showing a bit more fight, about proving the stores of stubborn resignation remain intact.
Bouncing back after last week’s gut punch against Stoke City (a shocking 2-1 loss at Old Trafford) would have been important in any case. That loss, by the way, came shortly after taking a 3-1 thumping at Chelsea. So, Moyes’ men are reeling.
Then came the mid-week news that Nemanja Vidic would soon put Old Trafford in his Serbian rear view mirror. This piece from The Guardian called Vidic “a centre-half of authentic greatness, often the best pure defender in English football.” So, yes … something else going wrong around Old Trafford this year.
Wouldn’t it be easy for the men of mighty United to feel a little sorry for themselves? Wouldn’t it be easy to lose the plot just a little as a top four spot drifts further and further from view, as doubt about what the future looks like creeps in like a grim fog?
On the other hand, win Saturday and a real run at that top four doesn’t look so far-fetched. Next up is a match at Arsenal, a team that might be reeling at bit, too, after today’s fiasco at Anfield.
It’s the first of three consecutive road matches for United – all the more reason Saturday sets up as one the Red Devils cannot afford to squander.