PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Manchester United v Fulham – the action from Old Trafford as it happens
18:58 GMT, 26 March 2012
Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester United host Fulham at Old Trafford to conclude the weekend's fixtures. Sir Alex Ferguson's team have a chance to pull out a three-point advantage at the top of the table as the Cottagers aim to avoid a third straight defeat. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or on Twitter @Ripinho.
Manchester United v Fulham (8pm)
Click here for the live goals as they go in
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva,
Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young, Welbeck,
Rooney. Subs: Amos, Jones, Berbatov, Smalling, Hernandez, Scholes,
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes,
Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff, Dembele, Diarra, Frei, Pogrebnyak,
Dempsey. Subs: Stockdale, Ruiz, Murphy, Senderos, Etuhu, Briggs, Trotta.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Click here for the live Premier League table
19.57: Out come the players at Old Trafford – not many empty seats in the ground, all the games count now.
19.54: This hasn't been a joyful fixture for Fulham recently. They lost 5-0 at Craven Cottage earlier in the season but they do have one Premier League victory at Old Trafford.
Back in 2003, the Cottagers won 3-1 thanks to goals from Lee Clark, Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto cancelling out a Diego Forlan strike for the hosts.
19.51: From InfostradaLive:
Man Utd have lost only 2 of their 46 PL matches on a Monday and are unbeaten in their last 24 since a 1-0 loss at Southampton in '98.
19.48: From OptaJoe:
5 – Pavel Pogrebynak has scored five Premier League goals from five shots on target so far. Threat
19.45: Sir Alex Ferguson speaking to Sky Sports:
'We have got to win games and the experience helps, goal difference could be an issue at the end of season, I hope we catch that because it could be important.
'We will take each game as comes. We have got opportunities and we have got to take them. I'm sure there is a terrific desire from the players.'
19.40: REF WATCH: Michael Oliver
Set the record for the Premier League's youngest referee when he took charge of his first game two years ago at the age of 25.
This season he has handed out 44 yellow cards and four red cards which is about average on both counts.
Considering his young age he has so far proved quite competent at this level.
The general rule is if you don't hear much about a referee, he is doing a good job which has been the case so far in his career.
(Don't let me down tonight Michael after that build up).
19.37: Full line-ups from Old Trafford:
Man Utd v Fulham
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young, Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: Amos, Jones, Berbatov, Smalling, Hernandez, Scholes, Cleverley.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff, Dembele, Diarra, Frei, Pogrebnyak, Dempsey. Subs: Stockdale, Ruiz, Murphy, Senderos, Etuhu, Briggs, Trotta.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
19.34: Fulham boss Martin Jol spoke to Sky Sports before the game:
'Andrew Johnson dropped out yesterday with a knee problem so we have to do things a different way. Kerim Frei comes in for him and that's it.
'We need to be brave, give it a go and make it difficult for them. They are difficult to beat at home, but you only have to see Athletic Bilbao to see it's possible. But they are a terrific side.'
19.31: Ryan Giggs starts his first Barclays Premier League game for a month as Manchester United look to open up a three-point lead at the top of the table by beating Fulham.
Giggs replaces Paul Scholes, one of two changes from the side that hammered Wolves last weekend as Ashley Young is also recalled in favour of Javier Hernandez.
With one victory at Old Trafford since 1959 and the joint worst top flight away record this season, the omens were not good for Fulham, who bring Aaron Hughes, Kerim Frei and Damien Duff into the side badly beaten at home by Swansea last time out.
19.28: For the record it's not better than Morten Gamst Pedersen's strike on that list – that's just something on another level.
19.26: Much of the debate today has been on Peter Crouch's goal for Stoke against Manchester City on Saturday.
Not on whether he was the last player you thought could produce a volley like that, but its potential impact on the title race – and just how good it was.
Either way, it's going to go down as a classic but is it better than these crackerjacks
19.23: Fulham starting XI:
Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, JA Riise, Diarra, Dembele, Duff, Frei, Dempsey, Pogrebnyak
19.20: I'm still waiting for Fulham's line-up but I can confirm Kerim Frei is in the starting line-up.
For those of you that haven't seen him, the playmaker has some potential.
19.17: Manchester United starting XI:
De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Welbeck.
19.14: From OptaJoe:
13 – Fulham have never won away from home in the Premier League on a Monday (D4 L9). Blue
19.10: So how does it stand in the table at the moment Well the two Manchester sides are dead even on 70 points at the top, with United four goals worse off than City.
United seemed to be targeting goals in abundance at Wolves and I can see them trying to do the same this evening. Fulham are in this match too though and Sir Alex Ferguson will want the win first.
19.00: Anyone else get the feeling that April 30 will be the deciding date as to where the Premier League title is heading
That's the date when Manchester City host Manchester United, and judging by the league table it could also come down to goal difference given how close it's been between the two sides this season.
Is this perhaps the worst time of the campaign for Fulham to travel to Old Trafford to play a goal hungry Manchester United Team news on the way.
Out to score: Wayne Rooney has scored 10 goals in his last eight Manchester United games