Manchester United continued their excellent form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday afternoon with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were at the heart of the victory with both players finding the net within the first 25 minutes of the game in West London. The former wrapped up the victory as he struck from the penalty spot mid-way through the second-period.
Pogba on the scoresheet again
Despite the Red Devils’ win, Claudio Ranieri’s troops could well have claimed the lead in the opening few minutes as Luciano Vietto was picked out by Andre Schurrle. However, the striker could not quite connect and harmlessly put the ball wide.
That missed opportunity would come back to bite the hosts as Martial played through Pogba, with the ex-Juventus man lashing home a stunning finish from a tight angle.
Va Va Voom
Whilst Pogba’s strike was a goal of immense precision and power, Martial followed that up with an equally eye-catching effort. Fulham sloppily gave the ball away, with the winger picking the ball up in his own half. He sprinted towards goal, evaded two challenges, then expertly placed the ball into the far corner of Sergio Rico’s net.
The advantage could have been three just before the break as Phil Jones of all people unleashed a stunning shot from distance that had to be tipped over the bar by the Fulham stopper.
United seal the win from the spot
The Spaniard was called upon once again in the second-half as he had to be alert to at first stop Martial from getting his second, then to beat away a powerful effort from Ander Herrera.
The scores were not to remain the same for much longer as a silly challenge from Maxime Le Marchand saw Juan Mata fouled in the box. Pogba was once again the man to step up to the plate and following his trademark run-up, slammed the ball into the corner of the net for his 11th league goal of the campaign.
Late Fulham chances
It might have been easy for the United players to relax following that strike however they remained focused as David De Gea saved a header from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
January signing Ryan Babel then missed another glorious opportunity for Fulham as he lurked at the back post and latched onto another fine Mitrovic flick-on. However, despite practically being on the goal-line, the Dutchman could only send his effort onto the post. That just about summed up Fulham’s day as on the final whistle, boos cascaded from the stands at Craven Cottage, whilst the travelling Red Devils’ contingent were jubilant with yet another victory.
This game really was run by Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. The French duo were in terrific form and terrorised Fulham all afternoon. The turnaround that both have had since the arrival of Solskjaer has been dramatic. The Red Devils firmly deserved their victory, whilst Ranieri’s Fulham now look destined for the drop.
Fulham: Rico (6); Bryan (5) (Sessegnon (N/A), 81′), Ream (5), Odoi (4), Le Marchand (5); Chambers (5), Seri (6), Babel (5) (Cairney (N/A), 77′); Vietto (5), Schurrle (5) (Christie (6), 53′), Mitrovic (6).
Manchester United: De Gea (7); Shaw (6); Jones (7), Smalling (7), Dalot (6); Herrera (7) (Bailly (N/A), 85′), Matic (7), Pogba (9) (McTominay (6), 74′); Mata (7), Lukaku (6), Martial (8) (Sanchez (6), 70′).
Goals: Pogba (14′), Martial (23′), Pogba PEN (65′)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Yellow Cards: Bryan (25′), Chambers (38′), Matic (43′), Mitrovic (90′), De Gea (90′)
Red Cards: N/A
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