Rooney record to spark Red Devils recovery against Fulham
Two wins from nine matches in 2014 so far have left Premier League champions Manchester United with no hope of retaining their crown.
A top-four finish and securing Champions League football for next season also looks to be a real challenge for Red Devils manager David Moyes.
Ahead of basement side Fulham’s visit to Old Trafford, there is cause for optimism because Wayne Rooney simply loves scoring against the Craven Cottage club.
England talisman Rooney has netted a dozen United goals – and seven in the last seven meetings – with the west Londoners.
He is thus odds-on at 8/11 to score at anytime when Rene Meulensteen returns to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday.
Rooney has grabbed the only goal in two of the last five encounters, so punters should consider taking 10/3 on the first or last scorer market.
With Rooney part of the Red Devils’ attacking trio alongside Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, the hosts are understandably odds-on at 1/5 to win.
Fulham, who traditionally struggle on the road, are rank outsiders at 12/1. A draw is priced at 11/2.
United have shipped a dozen goals since the turn of the year, however, and defenders Jonny Evans and Phil Jones both came off injured in their last outing.
Couple this with the fact Fulham have conceded more goals than any other Premier League side, and a United win with both teams to score at 11/5 looks attractive – this has happened in three of the last four meetings.
It could be a tale of two strikers though, as £12m deadline-day signing Kostas Mitroglou is set to make his Fulham bow at the Red Devils.
Meulensteen’s men were woeful in their extra-time FA Cup exit to League One strugglers Sheffield United in midweek.
Unable to field Mitroglou and other new signings, including on-loan Tottenham playmaker Lewis Holtby, the Fulham attack was blunt after Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz left in January.
Mitroglou must step into the breach and hit the ground running if Fulham are to have any hope of survival.
Greece international Mitroglou is 7/2 to break his duck on his debut and a 9/1 shot to score either first or last in this match.
He is also second favourite at 7/2 behind new Crystal Palace acquisition Tom Ince in a special market on which deadline-day signing will score first.
Moyes must feel some sense of gratitude towards Fulham for buying Mitroglou from United’s next Champions League opponents Olympiakos.
The Red Devils manager must hope Mitroglou does not cost him Premier League points instead of posing problems in Europe.
Rooney remains the tried and tested safe bet in this fixture though.