Manchester United moved into the top four of the Premier League as they march on with their unbeaten run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with an easy 3-0 win overFulham at Craven Cottage.
A brace from Paul Pogba, a first half stunner and a second half penalty, and a brilliant individual effort from Anthony Martial secured the three points for the Old Trafford side.
Fulham started the match well and should have scored inside the opening 60 seconds only for an unmarked Luciano Vietto to fail to hit the target after Andre Schurrle had created the opening.
The home team were made to pay for the early misses as United took the lead after 14 minutes as Paul Pogba opened the scoring with a sensational first-time shot at the near post that Sergio Rico should have dealt with better.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team made it 2-0 when Anthony Martial took it all upon himself right from the halfway line to embarrass the Fulham defense and score a beauty of a goal.
Fulham were shell-shocked and United cruised through the rest of the first period with few alarms although, just before the interval, David De Gea was forced to make a routine stop to keep Calum Chambers’ drive out.
United scored their third goal in the 65th minute, as Pogba guaranteed the victory with a composed penalty after Juan Mata was brought down inside the box.
The Red Devils have now scored more goals from penalties than any other team in the Premier League this season.
With the game won, Solskjaer withdrew his star man to protect him for big tests coming up, not least Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last 16 at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
After the match, a delighted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “The first 10 minutes we made it hard for ourselves but the last 80 minutes pleased me. We managed the game well which you have to do away from home and we played some fantastic football.
“The players have some fantastic qualities. I’ve supported United for many years and as a United fan you go into every game thinking you’re going to win it. We’re on a great run but I think the players are feeling the same.
“We know how good Paul Pogba is and he scored a great goal. We want to keep moving forward and hang onto this fourth place. When you win games, you're always happy and I think the crowd will enjoy the trip home.”
Fulham have conceded 58 goals in 26 Premier League games this season, only three sides have shipped more at this stage in the history of the competition.
Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri said, “We created two great chances in the first 10 minutes but after we conceded we gave it to them and lost our composure. When you play against big champions you can make mistakes.
“I tried to give my players more opportunities by playing with two strikers and Ryan Babel in behind. We didn’t create anything very dangerous and the penalty finished the match.”
About the Author
Jeet Ghosh is a Football Journalist, living and working in Kolkata with 7 years of experience. He has also worked with Sportzwiki and India.com. Jeet is a sports lover but has special liking for football. He follows the football league’s around the world and is somewhat partial towards Real Madrid.