Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Fulham 0 Man United 5

With the fallout still radioactive after the Luis Suárez judgment, for his racially aggravated abuse of Patrice Evra, it was easy to forget, for a moment, that there was some football to be played. Manchester United did not forget. With a performance of ruthless focus, they swatted aside Fulham to maintain not only their imperious away form but their pursuit of Manchester City.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team are the only one in the country yet to taste domestic defeat on their travels and a blemish was never likely here, from the moment that Danny Welbeck scored an early goal.

Against a Fulham team that did not turn up in the first-half, United made the game safe by the interval. Nani scored the second and made two more while Ryan Giggs embellished yet another personal legend by contributing his first league goal of the season. He has now scored in all 20 Premier League campaigns. Wayne Rooney might have thought he had scored the pick of the goals at the death, with a swerving 25 yard blast, only for the substitute Dimitar Berbatov to trump him with an outrageous backheel.

The only concern was the suspected cheekbone fracture suffered by Phil Jones, following a ferocious whack from Clint Dempsey’s elbow, and the substitute Ashley Young also limping off.

United had not emitted a peep on the record about the Suárez-Evra storm when this match kicked-off and nobody was holding their breath for any post-match comment from them. Let the others talks, has long been the United philosophy. They were preoccupied solely by the result.

Hard on the heels of the encouraging performances against QPR and Wolves, United eased into their stride and they were ahead in the early going. Martin Jol might have wondered if his pre-match exhortations were for nothing as Bryan Ruiz did little but jog after Nani before passing him on to his team-mate Chris Baird, who also failed to get tight or make a challenge.

Nani crossed low from the left and Welbeck, unmarked, swept home his sixth goal in all competitions this season. Given that United had conceded only three times on their domestic travels this term, it did not look good for Fulham.

United had started with Phil Jones at right-back but he did not last. He needed the smelling salts after feeling Clint Dempsey’s elbow in an aerial challenge in the second minute and, when he lost his bearings and allowed Ruiz in behind him, he needed to make a saving tackle inside his area. He still looked dazed when his number went up immediately.

It was difficult to gauge Dempsey’s intent but his challenge looked worse with each replay. So did that of Jonny Evans on Moussa Dembélé in first-half injury-time, the United defender catching his opponent hard on the ankle.

Antonio Valencia moved to right-back but it felt as though Ferguson could have played himself there. Fulham were power-puff in the first half and United enjoyed a stroll. They worked a short corner routine for the second goal, Giggs whipping over a cross for Nani, of all non-aerial specialists, to glance a header past David Stockdale.

It was painful for the Fulham crowd to watch. Philippe Senderos was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he lumbered through Welbeck but the luck evened out on United’s third. Nani was permitted to walk into the area and square for Giggs and his shot looped up off Senderos, who had thrown himself into a block, and arched over Stockdale. Boos rang in the Fulham players’ ears at the interval.

Fulham were better in the second half, although it would have been truly remarkable it they had been any worse. Dempsey forced Anders Lindegaard into a save, Dembélé flashed a shot from distance just wide and the United stand-in goalkeeper twice denied Andy Johnson. Lindegaard did himself some good.

There were spicy tackles. Young, who had come on for Jones, left the ground when he flew into a reckless one with Dickson Etuhu but he wound up coming off worse, when the Fulham midfielder saw him coming. Young was forced off. The erratic referee Mark Halsey struggled to impose his authority.

As the game drifted, the United fans were left to amuse themselves. There was predictable abuse for Suárez, the Liverpool striker, together with “Justice for Evra”. More humorously, or ominously, was “Giggs, Giggs, is coming to Amsterdam”, for the Europa League against Ajax on a Thursday night in the New Year. A Wednesday night in London worked out pretty nicely for United.

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