noscript image

Pogba and Martial fire United to victory at Fulham

Pin Martial got United's second with a brilliant solo goal. AFP
Martial got United's second with a brilliant solo goal. AFP

Pogba and Martial fire United to victory at Fulham

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it 10 wins out of 11 as Manchester United manager following a convincing 3-0 at Craven Cottage.

The interim manager made several changes for the clash with Fulham, with Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez among those left out as Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial returned to the side. But Fulham, perhaps driven by the looming spectre of relegation from the Premier League, started the stronger.

They held a lengthy team-talk in a huddle before kick-off and came at United from the off, with Andre Schurrle putting the ball on a plate for Luciano Vietto, who inexplicably skewed wide. That came in the first minute, and in the fourth they had another. Alexsandar Mitrovic found space in the area but could only direct his powerful header straight at David de Gea. And if the Cottagers thought they'd be punished for their wasteful finishing, they were right.

Shortly afterwards United scored with almost their first attack of the game - Martial playing a first-time pass into Paul Pogba, who twisted his body to fire in a left-footed strike from a tight angle. Fulham never really recovered, and on 24 minutes United had a second.

Phil Jones played the ball to Martial, who, still well inside his own half, began to drive forwards towards goal. He skipped past two desperate Fulham challenges on his way to the penalty area, before slotting coolly past Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico. Interestingly, Jones' assist for Martial meant he drew level with Naby Keita in terms of goal involvements this season, with both on one. The England defender almost had a goal himself shortly before half-time, seeing a deflected strike whistle just over the bar.

Fulham changed their shape after the break, with Andre Schurrle making way for right-back Cyrus Christie, but the change had little effect. United remained in control, and were awarded a penalty on 66 minutes when Juan Mata was tripped as he lined up a shot. Pogba performed his trademark slow run-up before side-footing the ball powerfully past Rico to make it 3-0.

Alexis Sanchez came on with 20 minutes left; his main involvement in the game being a missed one-on-one, where he could only prod straight at Rico. English talents Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon came on as Fulham tried to get back into the game, but to little effect.

Despite the scoreline, there didn't seem to be a single empty seat at Craven Cottage as the final whistle blew, a testament to Fulham's loyal faithful. They remain 19th, seven points off safety and having played a game more than their rivals. United, on the other hand, rise into fourth place with this win, and the calls for Solskjaer to stay as permanent manager will grow ever stronger. 

 

Charles Whitehead

Charles Whitehead

news 77 RANK 24
READS 609K RANK 19
More news author

Follow BeSoccer on Facebook