Manchester United vs Fulham predictions: Cottagers can capitalise on key contrasts
- Casemiro starts a four-match suspension to leave a big hole in United's midfield
- Joao Palhinha returns from a two-match suspension in a massive boost for Fulham
- Recommended bet: Fulham to qualify
Manchester United continued their hunt for a trophy treble by completing a 5-1 aggregate success over Real Betis in the Europa League round of 16 but they could face a sterner test at home to Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Red Devils have never won both major domestic cups in the same season, but they have lifted the FA Cup on 12 occasions.
Fulham's only appearance in an FA Cup final came in 1975 when they were beaten 2-0 by West Ham.
If the Londoners were to overcome United they would be in the semi-finals for the first time since 2002.
United manager Erik ten Hag will have to reshuffle his midfield because Casemiro is about to start a four-game domestic ban.
Scott McTominay and Marcel Sabitzer are vying to come into the side, but Christian Eriksen and Alejandro Garnacho (both ankle) are unavailable.
Anthony Martial has returned to training and could be considered and Antony must be assessed after missing the last two games with illness.
Fulham are going to be stronger in midfield with Palhinha ready to return from a two-game suspension.
Willian is battling to recover from a back injury but Neeskens Kebano (Achilles) and Layvin Kurzawa (knee) are out long term and Tom Cairney (ankle) is sidelined until after the international break.
United's unbeaten run at Old Trafford extended to 21 games when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton in last Sunday's Premier League clash.
Before the Southampton match, they had scored a minimum of two goals in 14 consecutive home fixtures.
While United are free-scoring, Fulham are used to keeping things tight on their travels.
The Cottagers have kept clean sheets in five of their last eight away games but they head to Manchester in need of a lift after suffering back-to-back Premier League defeats.
Fulham's hopes of a top-seven finish in the Premier League have been dented by their recent losses away to Brentford (2-3) and at home to Arsenal (0-3) but there may be more to come from the Cottagers in the FA Cup, starting with a shock success at Old Trafford.
Every newly promoted club focuses first and foremost on Premier League survival, so it was understandable to see Fulham manager Marco Silva making numerous changes for the early rounds of the FA Cup.
However, a stronger Fulham side triumphed 2-1 at home to Leeds in the fifth round and there will be no holding back for the trip to Old Trafford with Silva's side set to do everything in their power to reach the final four.
Fulham's recent dip in performance coincided with Palhinha's two-match ban and the return of the Portuguese midfielder gives them a massive boost.
While Fulham are going to be stronger in the centre of the park, United will be weaker due to the start of Casemiro's four-game ban.
There may also be some issues in terms of fatigue for a United side preparing for their 22nd match of 2023.
Ten Hag utilised a lot of his first choice players for Thursday's 1-0 success away to Betis and, if there are one of two tired legs and minds, it may be enough for Fulham to take advantage.
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