Thursday, June 13, 2024

Manchester United 3-1 Fulham: What Were The Main Talking Points As Erik ten Hag’s Side Punch Their FA Cup Semi-Final Ticket?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, FA Cup 20 Mar 2023

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While Manchester United might have gone about it the hard way on Sunday night, Erik ten Hag’s side eventually punched their FA Cup semi-final ticket thanks to a 3-1 victory against Fulham.

Falling to a shock 1-0 deficit as Serbian ace Alexandar Mitrovic opened the scoring just five minutes after returning from the half-time break, the Reds were certainly helped by some late Fulham madness.

With both Mitrovic and former Chelsea star Willian shown their own separate red cards in the space of just a few seconds, United certainly put their foot on the accelerator.

With Bruno Fernandes converting from the spot moments before Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer completed a quickfire turnaround, the Premier League giants eventually breezed their way to the semi-finals.

Watching Fernandes bag a stellar second-half brace and guide United to a first FA Cup semi-final since 2020, Fulham will be disappointed by what was a late collapse at Old Trafford.

In what proved to be an action-packed affair from Manchester on Sunday afternoon, we have taken a glance at the main talking points.

United can secure a domestic silverware sweep

Although fans around Old Trafford might have accepted that any chance of a stunning Premier League title charge is now off the cards, Manchester United should have their sights set on securing a genuine domestic title sweep.

Ending their six-year wait to lift a piece of silverware on February 26th as they were crowned EFL Cup champions thanks to a 2-0 victory against Newcastle at Wembley, the ex-Ajax boss has made it clear that he wants to start a real dynasty in the red half of Manchester.

Bouncing back from their infamous 7-0 drumming at the hands of historic rivals Liverpool earlier in the month, United should see the FA Cup as another viable option.

Punching their semi-final ticket after another thrilling comeback at Old Trafford here, the Red Devils are still firing on all cylinders.

Likewise, coming past Spanish outfit Real Betis earlier in the week after securing a thumping 5-1 aggregate romp, United should find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.

Although the Premier League giants might be seeking some recent defensive stability, ten Hag’s side will enter the international break riding a wave of momentum.

Fulham are enduring their worst rut of the season

While Fulham might have marked their Premier League return this season tipped as one of the leading contenders to find themselves at the heart of a relegation scrap, Sunday’s guests have gained plenty of plaudits.

However, while Silva’s side might have caught the eye on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, the Cottagers are enduring what has been a real March struggle.

Although the former Everton boss might have seen his side take a shock lead here, Fulham find themselves somewhat sat in Premier League limbo after watching their shock European ambitions take a major dent.

While Silva’s men might still have their sights set on clinching a famous top-half finish in 2023, the west London outfit have now lost each of their last three meetings against top-flight opposition.

In fact, losing three successive domestic showdowns for the first time this season, the Cottagers have also gained a reputation for their continued struggles at the back.

Along with back-to-back 3-0 and 3-2 losses against Arsenal and Brentford over the past fortnight, Fulham have shipped a trio of strikes in each of their three successive defeats across all competitions.

The Seagulls await

Although Manchester United might still find themselves dreaming of a domestic silverware sweep this season, ten Hag will be more than aware that his side faces a huge semi-final struggle next month.

While neutrals from across the Premier League will be hoping that this year’s FA Cup final will be an all-Manchester showdown, Brighton will certainly be looking to upset the establishment.

Despite watching Graham Potter make the move to Stamford Bridge back in September, the Seagulls have only continued on a remarkable rise under new boss Roberto De Zerbi.

Eventually punching their semi-final ticket thanks to a routine 5-0 romp against League Two outfit Grimsby earlier in the day, Brighton find themselves firmly battling it out in the European chase.

Likewise, while ten Hag’s men might be looking to make a domestic statement when they travel to the Amex on April 22nd, they should be worried by a downbeat record against the top-six contenders.

Along with suffering a 2-1 loss when they welcomed Brighton to Old Trafford back in August, United have suffered back-to-back defeats against the high-flying Seagulls.

Match Report

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw, McTominay, Sabitzer, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst

Subs: Fred, Antony

Fulham: Leno, Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson, Palhinha, Reed, Reid, Pereira, Willian, Mitrovic

Subs: Soares, Solomon, James, Cairney

Goals: Manchester United: Fernandes (75′ P, 90+6′), Sabitzer (77′) – Fulham: Mitrovic (50′)

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Maguire – Fulham: Pereira, Robinson

Red Cards: Mitrovic, Willian, Silva (Not on the pitch)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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