Pogba the driving force as United dismantle Fulham


Fulham 0-3 Manchester United

Manchester United comprehensively beat a struggling Fulham side at Craven Cottage whose defensive frailties were exposed by Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. The latter netting a brace.

The defeat plunged Claudio Ranieri’s side into further relegation trouble.

Marcus Rashford was a shock omission as he had to settle for a place on the bench, with Romelu Lukaku earning a starting spot. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer seemingly having one eye on the fixture against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.

Fulham manager Ranieri gave Luciano Vietto a start alongside new signing Ryan Babel and top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic upfront.

Fulham were afforded the first opportunities of the game when Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle wasted good chances to open the scoring. The Serbian international put an effort just wide of the left hand post. The opening ten minutes flew by as the frenetic pace kept all enthralled.

But the defensive frailties that haunt Fulham’s season continued. Pogba broke the lacklustre offside trap to lash the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot to give the visitors the lead.

The hosts battled well but seemingly had no solution to getting back into the game, long balls to Mitrovic were being eaten up by Phil Jones while Vietto struggled to find any rhythm on the ball.

The defensive woes of this season were encapsulated by Manchester United’s second goal, as Anthony Martial dazzled his way through the defence. Avoiding several weak challenges before finishing calmly into the bottom corner.

Solskjaer’s men grew in confidence and the game looked won with just half an hour on the clock. Martial tormented Fulham down the left with Dennis Odoi getting no protection from Schurrle on his wing.

Callum Chambers went into the book for a late challenge on Chris Smalling as the makeshift defensive midfielder looked to up the ante for Fulham and impose his physical presence.

The ineffective Schurrle was replaced by Cyrus Christie on 53 minutes, which drew boos from the crowd and chants of  ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ aimed at Ranieri. Calls for the introduction of fan favourite Ryan Sessegnon rung around Craven Cottage.

The inevitable third goal came soon after when Lukaku burst through Maxime Le Marchand before laying the ball of to Juan Mata. Le Marchand put in a needless challenge in on the Spaniard and referee Paul Tierney awared a penalty to United. Pogba dispatched the spot kick in a calm fashion, doubling his tally on the day and killing off the game as a contest.

Le Marchand’s nightmare continued as he headed the ball to Alexis Sanchez who took a strike at goal but failed to hit the back of the net.

Fulham remain in trouble. They currently sit seven points adrift of safety having played a game more than their rivals.

United meanwhile climb into fourth place ahead of Chelsea, as the feel good factor around the club continues into the Champions League meetings with Paris Saint-Germain.



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