Manchester United are entering a crucial period in the campaign which could make or break their season and there is plenty to be worried about after a four-match winless streak.
Fighting back from two goals down against Southampton last weekend and securing a point against Arsenal in midweek with a valiant performance, there has certainly been some positives to take from recent displays.
However, the standings make for grim reading. Jose Mourinho’s side sit eighth, behind Everton and Bournemouth, are five points behind the Champions League spots and a staggering 18 points behind arch-rivals Manchester City.
The danger for the Red Devils is that the gap could extend. Arsenal are flying and enjoying a 20-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, Chelsea have lost just once under Maurizio Sarri and Tottenham continue to catch the eye.
With a clash against Liverpool on the horizon, Manchester United cannot afford to drop any points in their more favourable matches according to sports betting with EnergyBet that are around the corner – starting with the hosting of Fulham on Saturday.
However, there is also big risks. Anything other than a comfortable win will be seen as another failure and, with a trip to Anfield next week, a slip against Fulham could be extremely problematic.
This is the sort of match where Mourinho will expect his more senior players to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and haul United to victory. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba have seen criticism heaped upon them this season but could provide the difference at the weekend.
It could also provide the chance for Anthony Martial to maintain what has been a decent season for him individually, where he has scored seven Premier League goals in 12 appearances – three of which have come off the bench.
At the back, David De Gea is unlikely to be tested too much by a Fulham arrack which has scored 15 goals in 15 games but he also needs to make a statement after his error against Arsenal for their opening goal, while he has secured just two clean sheets this season.
Ultimately, it is a favourable tie for Manchester United on paper but one that could be difficult as the wolves are at the door ready to rip into the team if they fall short of expectations.