Manchester United vs Fulham Summary
Manchester United hosted Fulham in their first game with fans since March 2020. A massive game for the fans and the players and with three points needed to secure second at the end of the game, still plenty to play for. United started very well and opened the scoring in a superb manner. De Gea clipped the ball to Fernandes who may or may not have flicked it on to Cavani who lobbed Areola from 40 yards out to score his 10th League goal of the season. It was his first experience of the United faithful and one that he will remember. United may have looked shaky in defence but controlled the game for the most part and should have put four past Fulham with the chances they created. However, they failed to take the chances they created and were punished by a cheap header from Joe Bryan. While the draw still guaranteed a second place finish following Chelsea’s win over Leicester, it was still a disappointing result with no win in three for United.
Without Maguire, United look shaky and lacking leadership at the back. With one league game left before the Europa League final, United will want to gain some momentum against Wolves going into the match but will likely rest some crucial players too. I think Ole will see who can impress at Molyneux and will make a decision as to who starts in Gdansk from there. It is such a huge game and will only further the progress made this season if United lift the Europa League.
Manchester United vs Fulham Player Ratings
David de Gea 7/10
Made some big saves during the game. While they weren’t acrobatic or instinctual, they were important. Nothing he could do about the goal or the cross.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 5/10
I think he gets beaten to easily initially and then he is marking Cavaleiro which takes him too narrow and while you could argue it’s his duty to defend wide, it could be argued that Greenwood doesn’t track his man either. It is an issue that keeps popping up and is one that Ole and his coaching staff need to iron out during pre-season.
Victor Lindelof 5/10
Weak in a couple of challenges that could have lead to goals. He is the senior player in the back four and needs to be more of a leader in these circumstances regardless of whether Maguire is injured or not. This is unfortunately a major reason why United do need more reinforcements in the centre back position. Competition can only improve Lindelof.
Axel Tuanzebe 6/10
He looked promising and pressed well and won the ball back with his positioning and pace. I think if United can get a defender in, he may get a Premier League loan so he can showcase his ability as a regular starter. Right now he probably has to start in Gdansk if Maguire is not fit to play.
Luke Shaw 6/10
Right now, I can understand Shaw being a bit sluggish because he has played regularly for the majority of the campaign. I think he desperately needs resting against Wolves so he is in top condition for the final. One thing that has been worrying is his crosses have not been as clinical and he is stuggling to make overlaps when Pogba plays on the left. I’m not sure why this has happened but perhaps with rest on Sunday he will be ready to go for Wednesday.
Better but still a struggle against Anguissa and Lemina.
Scott McTominay 7/10
Relished the challenge but still had issues with his distribution. When he drove at the Fulham team, he looked more dangerous. Both he and Fred looked a bit injured after the game. A big concern for next week.
Paul Pogba 6.5/10
Good distribution but could not affect the game in the small pockets and his linkup was a bit slow.
Bruno Fernandes 6.5/10
A contentious flick to Cavani that he stated he didn’t touch. Some good linkup but could have been sent off if not for the recovery run of Tuanzebe. A freekick narrowly missing the target and a couple of half shots that Areola saved well. He needs just two goals to make it to 20 league goals and a trip to Wolves will make that a difficult ask.
Mason Greenwood 5/10
Missed a huge chance to double the lead and arguably culpable for the goal. Not a great game but still offered width, drive and pace on the break.
Edinson Cavani 8/10
Superb goal and could have had an assist or two. His first experience of the Old Trafford faithful and he will be happy with that at least. I am so relieved he is staying, it has set in place the summer window United need but it is just about whether the board mean what they say or if they will continue to lie to the fans and club.
Marcus Rashford 6.5/10
Lively but nothing of note.
Amad Diallo 7/10
Looked promising and held his width well. Classy moment from him and Pogba at the end of the game. A pre-season under his belt will do him the world of good.
Donny van de Beek 6/10
Decent cameo but couldn’t do much with the time given. I expect he will start on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 6.5/10
Not much he could do as that is arguably one of his strongest squads he can field. He could have made the subs quicker but then again, the team on the pitch was just as deadly. I reckon he will rest a few and start the likes of Bailly, Telles, Matic and Van de Beek. Maybe Martial if he is ready too. Momentum is key going into a final but so is fitness. It’s a fine balance and I back Solskjaer to make the right calls for Sunday and going into Wednesday as a trophy will make a progressive season the best season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.