Monday, December 03, 2007



When I started to look at today's fixtures, this match up looked the most unappealing to me, at least from a gambling perspective. United look too strong and of course, you are asked to give up a massive handicap, yet I get the feeling that Fulham have a little more to offer, than we have so far seen. Therefore, a game to leave well alone, sit back and let Rooney, Ronaldo and co entertain us. However, upon delving a little deeper, I found some very interesting statistics.

If you made a league table for the Premiership after 45 minutes play, Fulham would be top of the table, don't you think that is incredible ? They are 7-6-1 at the break, only going in behind, at home to Tottenham. On the road, they are an even more amazing 4-2-0, look at the actual fixtures and this becomes yet more eyecatching. At half time, away from home, they have led at Arsenal, Aston Villa, Wigan and Sunderland and gone in all square at Liverpool and Chelsea . This means that they have played at three of the big 4, they meet the other this evening and are yet to trail after 45 minutes. Of course, they struggle to take this form into the second period and are still without an away win after 90 minutes !

Let's take a very quick look at United, in the league they are 6-1-0 at Old Trafford, yet just 3-4-0 at the break, so level in 57% of games. If we also include all other matches at OT this season .... Sporting (0-1), Kiev (2-0), Roma (0-0), Coventry (0-1) and Inter (friendly 1-3), United have played 12 home fixtures and led at half time in just 4, or 33% of them. Like all very good teams Sir Alex's team do not panic, they know that the goals will come eventually, whether that is in the first or 70th minute matters little and of course, teams are more likely to crack, the longer the pressure is put on, so these statistics all make perfect sense.

So, where does this leave us this evening ? I cannot see Fulham winning, with wins for the other three contenders at the weekend, United desperately need maximum points and really should get them. Of course, United could have one of those nights, come out all guns blazing, get a little luck and be 4-0 up in 30 minutes, that is almost exactly what happened in this fixture last year, but Fulham were dire that day and lacked fire in their bellies, that will not happen to a Lawrie (first choice for a remake of The Krays) Sanchez led side, at least the fight will be there.

The average time that they have conceded their first goal in all away games this season, is the 81st minute !

I am backing the half time draw and taking a saver on the double result, if we get past the 30th minute with the match all square, I may consider trading out, or at least covering my stakes.

5.5 points half time draw 3.40 exchanges.
1.5 points double result Fulham- Manchester United 34.0 general quote.

Good Luck.

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