Manchester United drew 1-1 with already relegate Fulham at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was the first time supporters were in the Theatre of Dreams for a match in 14 months and it started well for United. Edinson Cavani opened the scoring from 40-yards to put the home side ahead in the 15th minute of the match. Fulham then started to test United in the search of an equaliser which eventually came in the 76th minute of the match with Joe Bryan scoring the goal. United looked dejected at times and unable to string something together to find a second goal, which could have changed the game.
It was good to se supporters back inside the Theatre of Dreams. United started well against Fulham with the already relegated side aiming to hold their own against the Red Devils. United initially did well with the ball but it took 15 minutes before the first goal came. It was a stunning goal too. David De Gea played the ball out from United’s area with the ball bouncing near Bruno Fernandes. Edinson Cavani looked to be in an offside position at the time De Gea played the ball but when it got to the Uruguayan, instead of running towards goal with the ball, he lofted it towards the goal from 40-yards, beating Alphonse Areola and putting United 1-0 up.
United had 64.2% of possession in the first half, having six shots with three of those on target. Fulham had a good chance through Fabio Carvalho which should have found the back of the net after the player beat Victor Lindelof to the ball although David De Gea, made a brilliant save to deny Fulham from an equaliser. There were warning signs for United at times with Fulham seeking to get back into the match but a goal or two from United should change that in the second half of the match. Two minutes were added on at the end of the first half with United still leading 1-0 at the break. More needed from the second half for United.
There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half, although Fulham were forced into a substitution in the first half when Harrison Reed was replaced by Joachim Andersen because of an injury in the 32nd minute of the match. In the 61st minute of the match, with Scott McTominay driving forward, Mario Lemina was booked for a foul ons the Scotland international. It was the second yellow card of the match with Bruno Fernandes also being booked in the 18th minute of the match for a foul, seemingly taking one for the team – although is was not a goalscoring opportunity for Fulham, which some will moan about.
United made their first substitution in the 62nd minute of the match with Marcus Rashford replacing Scott McTominay, who seemed to have a slight knock on coming off, which probably won’t be much of a worry for Solskjaer. The change saw Paul Pogba head back into midfield with Rashford slotting in on the left-wing, where he regularly plays for United. Fulham had been pushing for a goal ahead of the substitution but De Gea made another very good save to deny them. United should be seeking to get a second goal of the match which will make them more comfortable and help secure that second-placed finish in the league this season.
United desperately needed to find a second goal in the match to keep Fulham at bay as they had been attacking United a lot since Cavani scored in the 15th minute of the match. The already relegated side managed to get an equaliser in the 76th minute of the match with Joe Bryan finding the back of the net from a close-range header, beating De Gea which was a poor goal to concede for United. It seems that United have been stuttering into the UEFA Europa League final, which is dangerous ground for the club. Solskjaer should really be making more changes in this game, especially this late and with Fulham now level.
In the 82nd minute of the match, Solskjaer made his second substitution with Amad Diallo replacing Mason Greenwood with United now needing to find a winner from the game. Just after the substitution, Fred was fouled by Lemina, who was already on a yellow card, which seemed to hurt the Brazilian midfielder. He was find to continue though. Donny van de Beek was waiting to come on at the time too, but that substitution had to wait. Ademola Lookman was booked in the 87th minute of the match. Cavani was replaced by Van de Beek in the 88th minute of the match with United seeking a winner in this match.
Luke Shaw was booked in the 89th minute of the match for a challenge, giving Fulham a free-kick which came to nothing although Aaron Wan-Bissaka gave away another seconds later in a dangerous area. Fulham seemed to be gifted many chances to beat United at Old Trafford which would give them some bragging rights on the way back to the Championship next season. Nothing came of that free-kick though with United regaining possession, then losing it second later. The match ended in a draw, which was a poor result for United who had not won at Old Trafford in the last eight days. Solskjaer needs to find the key to winning.
United could have guaranteed their second-placed finish with a win against Fulham and will now need to wait and see what happens at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Leicester City. If the Emirates FA Cup winner’s lose to Chelsea, United will be guaranteed second place in the league. United will now face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season ons Sunday and then they will travel to Gdansk in Poland for the UEFA Europa League final where they will face Villarreal where they will try and win Solskjaer’s first trophy of his management career at United.
Goals: Edinson Cavani 15′; Joe Bryan 76′
Assists: Bruno Fernandes 15′; Bobby De Cordova-Reid 76′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Shaw; McTominay (Rashford 62′), Fred; Greenwood (Diallo 83′), Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani (Van de Beek 87′)
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams; Mata, Matic
Bookings: Bruno Fernandes 18′, Luke Shaw 89′; Mario Lemina 51′, Ademola Lookman 87′, Alphonse Areola 90+3′
Written by John Walker