The trip to Craven Cottage this evening was never going to be as easy as last season’s 5-0 drubbing; or last weekend’s 4-1 victory in the FA Cup.
The first half ended goalless but to be honest, nobody can quite understand how; with the woodwork being hit on a number of occasions.
Sir Alex opted for width with Nani and Valencia in the starting XI, and the game was stretched from start to finish. Unlike in recent weeks when the midfield has been compact – tonight both Cleverley and Carrick found time and space in the middle of the park.
Defensively, despite the shaky start and late onslaught from Fulham – both Ferdinand and Evans were exceptional at the heart of the back line. De Gea also made a fine save early on, tipping a Ruiz shot on to the post.
Despite Valencia putting in arguably his best performance of recent weeks, the Ecuadorian was replaced by Hernandez with 25 minutes to go. Sir Alex shuffled the pack in a hope to break the deadlock.
Wayne Rooney began the game well, continuing his fine midweek form – dropping into the hole and linking up play between midfield and attack. He was very unlucky not to find the net in the first half when he struck the upright with a bending shot.
Having been left in the shadow of Van Persie on a number of occasions this season, Rooney has reminded the world of the quality he possesses and was the difference tonight. Not only did he score the only goal of the game, but his work rate and attitude was exceptional – appearing all over the pitch – breaking up Fulham possession and making things happen for United.
Let’s hope Wayne continues in this vein of form for the run in. He is today’s Man of the Match.
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