The Telegraph
Sunday , February 9 , 2014
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United hope to bridge the gap

London: Manchester United host Fulham on Sunday hoping to keep pace with rivals in the race for a top-four position in the Premier League.

With Tottenham Hotspur facing Everton in the other league fixture on Sunday, David Moyes’ outfit can cut the gap with three points against Fulham. Defender Nemanja Vidic is available after suspension, while Phil Jones could also feature.

New signing Juan Mata is likely to feature again and the United supporters will hope that he can supply further chances for strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. United will be overwhelming favourites to take the three points but have ground to make up on the teams above them.

On the other hand, Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen needs a positive result at Old Trafford to ensure that his team don’t lose touch with the rest of the pack at the bottom of the standings.

Meulensteen, who has previously been a part of the backroom staff at United, has won just four of his 15 matches in charge at Craven Cottage, and a 10th defeat could see him come under pressure from the club’s owner.

Johnny Heitinga and Kostas Mitroglou, who joined Fulham just before the closure of the January transfer window, are likely to feature in the starting line-up.

Although Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have no realistic chance of winning the title, they meet at White Hart Lane in a match that could well define their league aspirations. The race for the fourth spot and Champions League qualification is likely to go to the wire. Everton are fifth on 45 points, one point and one place above Spurs, who are four clear of United.

With United at home against a bottom-of-the-table Fulham side in dreadful form, neither Spurs nor Everton would want to drop points on Sunday. United lost their eighth league game of the season last weekend against Stoke City and Moyes will know that only a win will do if his side are to mount a serious challenge for a Champions League spot. (Agencies)