United produced a fine performance that swept Fulham away at Craven Cottage and kept us on the tail of Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League.
Team News – Sir Alex Ferguson had to reshuffle the defence with Ferdinand withdrawing because of a knock. Jones dropped back into the vacant position and Giggs filled the gap in midfield. Up front, as we`d predicted, Sir Alex stuck with Rooney and Welbeck. In goal though, Lindegaard got the nod ahead of De Gea.
United – Lindegaard, Evra, Jones, Evans, Smalling, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck
Subs – De Gea, Rafael, Fryers, Park, Young, Berbatov Hernandez
First Half – United got off to probably the best start possible when they took the lead very early on. The goal wasn`t as quick as the one scored by Rooney at Loftus Road in our last appearance in West London but it was just as welcome.
The goal was simplicity itself with Fulham being very lax in allowing Nani to run fifty yards with the ball before finding an unmarked Welbeck, in the area, to slot home past Stockdale from all of six yards out.
Fulham 0 United 1 (Welbeck – 5 minutes)
The left flank was starting to look a productive route to goal, this time it was Evra that got in but his cross towards Rooney saw the striker unable to take advantage of the opportunity. Fulham immediately broke and it took a great challenge from Jones to deny Ruiz after he`d exchanged passes with Dempsey.
It was to be Jones last piece of the action with the defender leaving the field with just twenty minutes gone to be replaced by Young.
The lead was doubled soon after when Nani scored just before the half hour mark. It came from a corner, taken short by Giggs to Valencia and when the ball was given back to Giggs his cross was headed home by Nani.
Fulham 0 United 2 (Nani – 28 minutes)
As half time approached United took an unassailable lead when they went three goals ahead when Giggs got on the score sheet. The goal once again highlighted Fulham`s defensive deficiencies when Nani was allowed far too much space to provide Giggs with a pass and his shot over Stockdale, via a deflection from Senderos, left us almost home and dry.
Fulham 0 United 3 (Giggs – 43 minutes)
Half Time – Fulham 0 United 3
Second Half – Neither side made any changes at half time but it was Fulham that were to create the better chances early on. Dempsey saw a header saved by Lindegaard, Dembele saw an effort fly wide and then the ex-Liverpool player, John Arne Riise, saw a free kick fly narrowly wide.
Just before the hour mark the substitute Young was replaced by Park, but United were looking comfortable hanging onto their three goal lead. As we entered the latter stages of the game United could have made it 4-0 but Welbeck`s lifted shot was just too high and cleared the bar after some good work from Nani.
As the final whistle beckoned Lindegaard did well to save from Johnson but United were to wrap up proceedings with a fourth goal when Rooney got on the score sheet with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Fulham 0 United 4 (Rooney – 88 minutes)
Matters, with regards to our goal difference got better when Berbatov netted a fifth.
Fulham 0 United 5 (Berbatov – 90 minutes)
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