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Ratings: Cavani scored a great goal but United lacked ideas against Fulham

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.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Played a great ball into Cavani, although Fernandes was credited with the assist. Made some good saves but could not stop Bryan from equalising.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Offered something on the attack but his crossing was not the best. He tired in the second half and was beaten for the equaliser.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Gifted Carvalho with a great chance on goal with inept defending. De Gea saved his skin. United need to bring inn a confidant central defender this summer.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Composed and assured. An upgrade on Bailly which could mean he starts against Villarreal if Maguire does not make it. I'd like to see him play more for United. If United sell him, it could come back on them.

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23 Luke Shaw

Named the Player's Player of the Year earlier in the day and showed why in his performance. He was a threat taking corners. The result will fir him up for success this season.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played a good game for United in the midfield but perhaps needs to find his form again as at times this season, he was on top of his game. I don't think Fred compliments him at all and the Brazilian should not be a permanent fixture at the club. He was replaced by Rashford in the 62nd minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Did what was needed but in terms of a United midfielder, he's not the one. He will probably start in Gdansk but should nee a squad player after the summer.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had the ball in the box a few times and had some chances on goal. However, it was not to be for the teenager. Diallo replaced him in the 83rd minute.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Drew a tough save form Areola. Looked like he wanted to inspire United to victory. Came close to scoring from a free-kick. Credited with the assist for Cavani's goal.

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6 Paul Pogba

Seemed to get through the first half with little offered and was moved into the midfield for 30 minutes or so in the second half. Not his best worst performance but nowhere near his best either.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Scored a stunning goal in the 15th minute of the match, lofting the keeper from 40-yards to score his first goal in front of supporters in the Stretford End. He will be pleased with that. Replaced by Van de Beek in the 87th minute.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced McTominay 62'. Did not offer much other than winning a free-kick. Needs to find his form.

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16 Amad Diallo

Replaced Greenwood 83'. Added pace and got into good positions, but could not keep hold of the ball.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Cavani 87'. Had no impact coming on so late in the match.

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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

Confirmed XI: Cavani leads the line against Fulham; Greenwood, Fernandes and Pogba support; Rashford on the bench

Manchester United will face Fulham in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford and it will be the first match that the Theatre of Dreams has supporters in the stadium, which should be a good celebration following the coronavirus pandemic which has seen supporters away from stadiums for over a year, in most places at least. United’s form has changed recently with the defeats to Leicester City, who won the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend and Liverpool, who are now contesting for a UEFA Champions League place next season – which means both Chelsea and Leicester will be under pressure.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be boosted that there are just three matches remaining until the season ends with the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday 26 May 2021 as the pinnacle of the season and a chance for Solskjaer to win his first trophy as the manager of United, overcoming the clubs semi-final hoodoo under his management, which saw the club lose five semi-finals over the course of three different seasons. Fulham have already been relegated and are in poor form themselves, but they could shock United with a defeat as all six of United’s league defeats this season have been at the Theatre of Dreams. United won’t want that though.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams; Mata, Diallo, Matic, Van de Beek; Rashford

Fulham:

Areola;

Ream, Annguissa, Adarabioyo;

Carvalho, Reed, Lemina, Bryan;

De Cordova-Reid, Cavaleiro, Lookman

Substitutes:

Rodak; Tete, Hector, Odoi, Andersen, Aina; Loftus-Cheek, Onomah; Maja

United and Fulham have met 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 21 times and drawn five times with Fulham winning three times. United have scored a total of 67 goals with two penalties being awarded, scoring one of them. Fulham have scored 30 times against United with two penalties being awarded, scoring both of them. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with Fulham keeping just three of them. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 40 yellow cards and two red cards with Fulham players being shown 37 yellow cards and one red card.

Earlier this season, United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage despite Ademola Lookman opening the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Edinson Cavani struck in the 21st minute of the match and Paul Pogba scored the winner in the 61st minute of the match. This will be the first time Fulham have travelled to Old Trafford since the 2018/19 season where they lost 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams. Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku put United 3-0 up with a 61st minute penalty scored by Aboubakar Kamara giving Fulham hope. But Marcus Rashford scored United’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute of the match with victory already assured.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] Martial, Greenwood, Fernandes and James to take on Fulham and push for a victory; Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will face Fulham in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford and it will be the first match that the Theatre of Dreams has supporters in the stadium, which should be a good celebration following the coronavirus pandemic which has seen supporters away from stadiums for over a year, in most places at least. United’s form has changed recently with the defeats to Leicester City, who won the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend and Liverpool, who are now contesting for a UEFA Champions League place next season – which means both Chelsea and Leicester will be under pressure.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be boosted that there are just three matches remaining until the season ends with the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday 26 May 2021 as the pinnacle of the season and a chance for Solskjaer to win his first trophy as the manager of United, overcoming the clubs semi-final hoodoo under his management, which saw the club lose five semi-finals over the course of three different seasons. Fulham have already been relegated and are in poor form themselves, but they could shock United with a defeat as all six of United’s league defeats this season have been at the Theatre of Dreams. United won’t want that though.

How United have faired against Fulham in the Premier League.

United and Fulham have met 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 21 times and drawn five times with Fulham winning three times. United have scored a total of 67 goals with two penalties being awarded, scoring one of them. Fulham have scored 30 times against United with two penalties being awarded, scoring both of them. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with Fulham keeping just three of them. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 40 yellow cards and two red cards with Fulham players being shown 37 yellow cards and one red card.

Earlier this season, United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage despite Ademola Lookman opening the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Edinson Cavani struck in the 21st minute of the match and Paul Pogba scored the winner in the 61st minute of the match. This will be the first time Fulham have travelled to Old Trafford since the 2018/19 season where they lost 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams. Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku put United 3-0 up with a 61st minute penalty scored by Aboubakar Kamara giving Fulham hope. But Marcus Rashford scored United’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute of the match with victory already assured.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Fulham in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Over the past week, it has been shown what United would be like without David De Gea and during the social media era, it will continue to breed negativity as there is a massive lack of patience out there. The majority of supporters on social media would write off a player permanently after a mistake and ensure that player was abused, belittled and never played for the club again. That is pathetic. Because Dean Henderson made some mistakes, these fans would rather he left the club and excelled elsewhere, which would give them more to moan about. Henderson is a talent but he needs to be eased in and De Gea still has a part to play at the club, if he wants it that is. Henderson could be so much better with another season alongside De Gea.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw

United conceded six goals at the Theatre of Dreams last week in the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City and the 4-2 defeat to Liverpool. This will be the final match of the season at Old Trafford and there will be around 10,000 supporters so the club should be seeking to end the season at home with a positive performance. With Harry Maguire still on the sidelines through injury, along with Phil Jones who has been there all season, it will leave Victor Lindelof as the most experienced defender, possible partnering Axel Tuanzebe, which would be good to see. In the fullback positions, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw would both be largely positive and help United on their way to get three points in the bag, which should confirm their second-placed finish.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

United’s midfield has bene rather lacklustre during the latter stages of the season and there is a case for what United need in the summer transfer window – a defensive midfielder at the very least. United could play a 4-3-3 formation against Fulham but with Bruno Fernandes playing in the advanced position. That would leave Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba playing in the two-man part of the midfield with the former doing the defensive work and the latter linking the midfield up with the attack. If United had a defensive midfielder with legs, Pogba could play alongside them in a two-man midfield which would work a lot better than it does right now. Fred has been terrible over the past few weeks and no longer has a case to start regularly – unless he improves.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

Bruno Fernandes, the clubs top scorer should play in the advanced position in the middle of the three behind the striker. After scoring 28 goals so far this season, add to 17 assists, he is the player that the majority of the goals scored this season have come from, when looking at individual stats. Mason Greenwood should be restored to the right-wing, as he is the most proficient in that position this season with Daniel James playing on the left, giving Marcus Rashford a period of rest ahead of the most important match of the season – the UEFA Europa League final next week. United may not need their big guns on the pitch against Fulham, seemingly having them on the bench in case they are required in the final home match of the season.

Forwards: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial has not played for United since before the international break back in March/April, missing the last 11 matches for the club. Granted, the Frenchman was not in the best form before that. However, his season has not been the worst with seven goals and eight assists so far this season and there is a chance that he could break into double figures, which would end his season on a high – if indeed he is ready to start. Edinson Cavani is the player in form and to save him for the final against Villarreal in Gdansk, he could probably come off the bench with 30 minutes, or less remaining of the match which could see him increase his 15 goals and five assists so far this season.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Edinson Cavani

United will have enough players on the bench to change the game, if that is needed against Fulham, which could be the case after the last two matches. Solskjaer will probably have Dean Henderson on the bench for this match and he will probably start against Wolverhampton Wanderers, keeping David De Gea fit for the Europa League final. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams will be on the bench. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek will all be available. Edinson Cavani will be the only attacking player on the bench, giving Marcus Rashford a chance to recover from injury, fatigue and poor form. United just need to get through these last two Premier League matches before the big one.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United need a win against Fulham to take the pressure off them and let Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool fight it out

Manchester United -v- Fulham

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 18 May 2021, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Lee Mason Assistants: Simon Bennett, Adrian Holmes

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

VAR: Simon Hooper Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes

Manchester United will face Fulham in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford and it will be the first match that the Theatre of Dreams has supporters in the stadium, which should be a good celebration following the coronavirus pandemic which has seen supporters away from stadiums for over a year, in most places at least. United’s form has changed recently with the defeats to Leicester City, who won the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend and Liverpool, who are now contesting for a UEFA Champions League place next season – which means both Chelsea and Leicester will be under pressure.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be boosted that there are just three matches remaining until the season ends with the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday 26 May 2021 as the pinnacle of the season and a chance for Solskjaer to win his first trophy as the manager of United, overcoming the clubs semi-final hoodoo under his management, which saw the club lose five semi-finals over the course of three different seasons. Fulham have already been relegated and are in poor form themselves, but they could shock United with a defeat as all six of United’s league defeats this season have been at the Theatre of Dreams. United won’t want that though.

Manchester United: LLWLWD

Liverpool 4-2 L, Leicester City 2-1 L, Aston Villa 3-1 W, AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D

Fulham: LLLDLL

Southampton 3-1 L, Burnley 2-0 L, Chelsea 2-0 L, Arsenal 1-1 D, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 L, Aston Villa 3-1 L

Top Scorers: Manchester United have scored nearly four times the goals the Fulham have scored this season with United scoring 117 and Fulham scoring just 32!

Manchester United Goals: 28 – Bruno Fernandes, 21 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Edinson Cavani, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

Manchester United have scored a total of 117 goals so far in all competitions this season and still have three matches left before the season is over. Bruno Fernandes is United’s top scorer with 28 goals, which is some achievement as he has beaten Frank Lampard’s best season. In United’s last six matches, their form has gone Pete Tong. Solskjaer’s side have won twice, drawn once and lost three times – the last two defeats were in a row at the Theatre of Dreams, so ending the season on a high, in front of some supporters will be key. United have scored 14 goals, conceded 12 and kept one clean sheet.

Fulham Goals: 7 – Bobby De Cordova-Reid, 4 – Ademola Lookman, Aleksandar Mitrovic, 3 – Ivan Cavaleiro, Josh Maja, 2 – Ola Aina, 1 – Joachim Andersen, Tom Cairney, Fabio Carvalho, Own Goal, Aboubakar Kamara, Neeskens Kebano, Mario Lemina, Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Fulham have scored just 31 goals inn all competitions this season, which is poor to say the least. Their form has been dismal all season and rightfully so they were recently relegated. In their last six matches, Scott Parker’s side have drawn once and lost five times. United’s six defeats in the Premier League this season have all come at the Theatre of Dreams so Fulham will be boosted by this but that said, United should be seeking to end the season at home on a high. Fulham have scored three goals, conceded 12 and kept no clean sheets in these matches. At times it makes me wonder why teams like Fulham try to reach the Premier League.

Team News: Anthony Martial and Daniel James back into contention for United, easing the strain on the attacking players ahead of the UEFA Europa League final.

Phil Jones (knee) and Harry Maguire (ankle) are the only two players to be ruled out of the home clash with Fulham in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. Both Anthony Martial and Daniel James will be back into contention for a place in the squad to face the already relegated London side. It will give Solskjaer other options for the remainder of the season and allow the likes of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to be rested significantly ahead of the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal a week on Wednesday. United should have enough strength to win this match.

Terence Kongolo (knee) is the only player to be ruled out of the clash with United at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. However, Tom Cairney (knee) and Antonee Robinson (ankle/foot) remain doubts with both having a 25% chance of being fit for this clash with their likely returns on the final day of the season with Fulham at home to Newcastle United. Fulham will be confident after United’s last two defeats, which were at Old Trafford last week, adding up to six defeats at home this season, the club has not lost on the road in the league. Their fate is already sealed and they will be playing in the Championship once again next season.

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial and Daniel James to start against Fulham?

Solskjaer will need to keep his mind on the UEFA Europa League final in Gdansk, keeping the players that will start in that match both fit and free of injury over the next two Premier League matches. It was announced that both Anthony Martial and Daniel James were back in contention to face Fulham and I think both could start which will allow both Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani to be rested, albeit on the bench – should they be required. I’d like to see Axel Tuanzebe given more first team action too as Eric Bailly did not have a good game against Liverpool on Thursday evening. United should beat Fulham though, not making it too difficult.

Match Prediction: United have beaten Fulham 21 times, drawing five times and losing just three times. Time for United to stand up and secure second place in the Premier League.

United and Fulham have met 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 21 times and drawn five times with Fulham winning three times. United have scored a total of 67 goals with two penalties being awarded, scoring one of them. Fulham have scored 30 times against United with two penalties being awarded, scoring both of them. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with Fulham keeping just three of them. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 40 yellow cards and two red cards with Fulham players being shown 37 yellow cards and one red card.

Earlier this season, United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage despite Ademola Lookman opening the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Edinson Cavani struck in the 21st minute of the match and Paul Pogba scored the winner in the 61st minute of the match. This will be the first time Fulham have travelled to Old Trafford since the 2018/19 season where they lost 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams. Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku put United 3-0 up with a 61st minute penalty scored by Aboubakar Kamara giving Fulham hope. But Marcus Rashford scored United’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute of the match with victory already assured.

Manchester United 3-1 Fulham

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Cavani and Pogba send United to the Premier League summit in Fulham victory; Shaw, Fred, Fernandes and Maguire played well too

Manchester United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. Ademola Lookman scored the opening goal in the fifth minute as United saw themselves on the back foot from the start of the match. However, it took 16 minutes for United to get back into the match with Bruno Fernandes launching a ferocious shot on goal, hitting the inside of the post only for Fred to keep the attack in play. Edinson Cavani was the equaliser for United, scoring his fifth goal of the season for his club. Paul Pogba scored what turned into the winner for United, with a sublime finish which was good to see.

Fulham started well, getting a shot on goal in the third minute of the match after Aaron Wan-Bissaka lost possession of the ball with Ademola Lookman wasting no time driving at Harry Maguire, hitting the ball from 22-yards which was straight at David De Gea. Two minutes later through, Fulham were a goal to the good through Lookman. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was given too much room in midfield, he then clipped a good ball over Eric Bailly, which found Lookman, who was in space and looked offside, but wasn’t. He sprinted with the ball and fired a clever shot into the bottom corner, beating De Gea this time.

Fulham then had a penalty appeal in the tenth minute with was not given after Ruben Loftus-Cheek took a tumble after a challenge from Fred. Martin Atkinson waved it away as he saw nothing to award a penalty for. In the same minute, Paul Pogba was booked with him late on a challenge with Lookman. Zambo Anguissa was booked two minutes later. United started to find their feet and in the 18th minute Luke Shaw sent the ball into the middle from deep, seeking to find Edinson Cavani but the ball was flicked out for a corner. Shaw then looked to go short to find Anthony Martial but Fulham cleared the danger.

United found an equaliser in the 21st minute of the match with Cavani scoring his fifth goal of the season. Bruno Fernandes played a part in the goal, pulling into space and smacking a swerving effort, which hit the inside of the post. Fred then kept the attack alive, finding Fernandes back on the left. His cross was dangerous and Alphonse Areola lost possession of the ball with Cavani prodding home from close-range. He did not get the assist but Fernandes showed his quality, something that United would be lost without as it nears a year since he was signed, making his 50th appearance for the club this evening.

Fernandes seemed to be in the mood to carry United against Fulham, which was a good sign. United had another chance in the 29th minute with Wan-Bissaka doing a lot of attacking on the right. He looped the ball towards the back post with Anthony Martial rising with Kenny Tete but the Fulham player did enough to deflect the ball away for a corner. A minute later, Fulham left Maguire free in the box with Fernandes’ corner reaching the captain. He should have scored from 10-yards out but his woeful header was wide of the target, which was a shame for United, who could have put themselves ahead for the first time in this match.

Towards the end of the half, Fulham tried to get ahead again with Ivan Cavaliero in space 10-yards from the goal. His first touch was poor which ended with the ball running out of play. Lookman was a danger in the United area, especially on the break. A combination of Pogba and Fred managed to take him down 35-yards from the goal with Pogba already on a yellow and needing to watch himself in this match, or see red. Perhaps he needed to be replaced, instead of costing United heavily, which could well be the case. Shaw was looking good for United at the end of the half, making things happen but with United not taking their chances.

Fulham started the second half much like the first – aiming to get another early goal. Lookman was one the run in and around Pogba, coming out with the ball. Harrison Reed was fed the ball from 22-yards, taking on the strike but it was off target. United had a change three minutes later through Maguire. However, Fulham did enough to deny the captain from scoring. It was a 50/50 game at this point with both teams looking to find a goal to put them ahead. United were blocked in the 55th minute after Fernandes tried his luck from 22-yards out, which was a shame. United had plenty of chances and needed to try harder.

In the 65th minute of the match, United put themselves 2-1 up in the game, still needing to do more to seal the victory though. Pogba scored from his left-foot from 22-yards, scoring another big goal for United. Fulham were defending deeply and United were finding pockets of space outside the area. Pogba moved in from the right and packed a real punch with his finish, which beat the defence and Areola, hitting the back of the net. It was some good play from the Frenchman, who needs to be doing things like this a lot more often. United then forced a save three minutes later after Fernandes sent a wicked ball into Cavani, who tried to nod it in.

It was a nervy ending of the match for United with Fulham pressing to pressure United, having a fair few shots, which caused United some problems. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 85th minute of the match with Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford replacing Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial. United tried to secure their win, but a third goal was not coming. Fulham continued to find something, that was not coming, but they did get close to scoring again. Solskjaer made a third substitution in added time, bringing on Nemanja Matic for Fernandes with the match ending minutes later.

United have returned to the top of the Premier League once again this season, which will be something the squad and the manager will be proud of. United are now two points clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand at this stage of the season and Leicester City, who have played as many times as United. Liverpool sit six points behind United, having a game in hand themselves, which gives United a slight cushion from the reigning champions. At this stage though, the advantage lies with City, who will be seeking to find a way to get back to the top of the league once again this season.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unlucky not to keep a clean sheet, which United have had many of this month. Was beaten well by Lookman and it was a sublime finish.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played a good attacking game, doing what he needed to defensively. It was a nervy ending for United though, with Fulham seeking an equaliser to frustrate United.

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3 Eric Bailly

Played a good game for United. Good to see him play again after missing out against Liverpool. Did what he needed to do against the Premier League strugglers.

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5 Harry Maguire

Could have scored on more than one occasion from set pieces in the box. His first header was woeful and off target though. Led United well and pushed them to win the match returning to the top if the Premier League table.

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23 Luke Shaw

Was one of United's best performers against Fulham. Played a lot of attacking play and played some good balls into attacking positions. Good to see him fit and finding one form after the challenge of both Williams and Telles.

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17 Fred

Played a good game and kept the attack alive before United equalised after Fernandes hit the post. It was a busy game for him and it was good to see him get the chance to show his ability once more.

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6 Paul Pogba

Gave away the ball too easily and was booked in the tenth minute of the match, and pushing his luck at times. That was all forgotten when he buried the ball into the back of the net in the 65th minute. I feel that he does need to become better with his passing though as United lost a lot of the ball because of him, not just in this match either.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played well at times ass United attacked Fulham from behind. Played a good game and did what he needed to do. It is a shame he did not score or assist, which will help him develop. He was replaced by Rashford in the 85th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Played well against Fulham and perhaps started the attack which saw United equalise. His effort hit the inside of the post with the attack being kept alive and Cavani ending up scoring the equaliser. Not his best match but far from his worst on his 50th appearance for the club. He was replaced by Matic deep into added time.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Man of the Match for me. Phenomenal performance from the Uruguayan. Scored the equaliser for United in the 21st minute and had a lot of input in the match for United. His positioning, his ability and his finishing are all great for United.

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9 Anthony Martial

Had a few chances against Fulham, but failed to take advantage of them. Good to see him play again but he should be doing a lot better against teams like this. He was replaced by McTominay in the 85th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Martial 85'. Came on with five minutes left to stock up the United midfield to defend against a resurgent Fulham. Did what he needed to do.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Greenwood 85'. Came on late in the game with United 2-1 up and facing an onslaught from Fulham. Made some attacking plays and had a good chance. Did what he needed to do.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Matic 90+5'. Came on at the death to help deal with Fulham's advances. Was not on the pitch long enough to rate in all fairness.

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Goals: Ademola Lookman 5′; Edinson Cavani 21′, Paul Pogba 65′

Assists: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa 5′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Pogba; Greenwood (Rashford 85′), Fernandes (Matic 90+5′), Cavani; Martial (McTominay 85′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Van de Beek

Bookings: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa 12′, Joe Bryan 62′, Ola Aina 69′; Paul Pogba 10′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Cavani, Greenwood and Fernandes lead the line against Fulham; Rashford and Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action this evening as they travel to London to face Fulham at Craven Cottage. United drew 0-0 with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and at the time of writing still top the Premier League table – although that could change with Leicester City playing on Tuesday evening and Manchester City playing in an earlier kick off on Wednesday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen from his team in recent weeks, although I am sure he will be looking back at the clubs chances against Liverpool on Sunday with a win close to happening.

United will need to continue winning in the Premier League to keep chase on their rivals this season with Liverpool, Leicester and City all being close to United and the fact that Tottenham Hotspur and Everton will be seeking to get themselves in the mix this season, which will either work form them or fail. United will need to keep their heads, continue to rotate the teams regularly and keep their freshness ahead of future matches. United will be back in Emirates FA Cup action this weekend, taking on Liverpool at Old Trafford in the domestic cup competition, which might see Solskjaer’s side prevail over their rivals once more.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Cavani;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Matic, Van de Beek, McTominay; Rashford

Fulham:

Areola;

Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo;

Tete, Loftus-Cheek, Zambo Anguissa, Reed, Bryan;

Cavaleiro, Lookman

Substitutes:

Rodak; Hector, Odoi, Ream; Kebano, Lemina, Onomah; Mitrovic, Kamara

United and Fulham have played 28 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 20 of the meetings, drawing five and losing three. United have scored a total of 65 goals, winning two penalties and scoring one of them. Fulham have scored 29 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 11 cleans sheets with Fulham keeping two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 39 yellow cards with two red cards being shown. Fulham have been shown 34 yellow cards with one red card. After the 0-0 draw with Liverpool, which kept United top of the league on Sunday, winning this is important.

United and Fulham last met in the 2018/19 season. In the match at Craven Cottage, played on the 9 February 2019, almost two years ago, it was a 3-0 victory for United with Paul Pogba opening the scoring in the 14th minute, assisted by Anthony Martial, who scored his own goal nine minutes later, assisted by Phil Jones. Pogba then sealed the victory with a 65th minute penalty. At Old Trafford, in a match played on the 8 December 2018, it was a 4-1 victory for United with goals scored by Ashley Young (13′), Juan Mata (28′), Romelu Lukaku (42′) and Marcus Rashford (82′). Fulham scored a consolation through Aboubakar Kamara.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW