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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019


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Morning! And welcome along to our minute-by-minute coverage of this afternoon’s early kick-off in the Premier League (it’s never too early) between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage.

Claudio Ranieri’s men are in need of wins under their belt if they are to avoid being dragged into a serious relegation battle between now and the end of the season, but with just eight points in as many games, they need to get their act together fast.

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League - Craven Cottage Source: John Walton

They welcome a rejuvenated Man United to London this afternoon, with Ole Gunnar Solskajaer’s men still in the hunt for a top four finish which seemed absolutely completely beyond them in the final weeks of Jose Mourinho’s tenure in charge.

As we’ve well established, though, this is an entirely rejuvenated Red Devils, with Paul Pogba back to his best and Marcus Rashford looking like one of the most potent and clinical strikers in English football at the minute.

Kick-off is coming up in an hour’s time at 12.30pm!

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Fulham: Sergio Rico, Odoi, Le Marchand, Ream, Babel, Chambers, Seri, Bryan, Vietto, Mitrovic, Schurrle.

Substitutes: Ryan Sessegnon, Kebano, Cairney, Ayite, Christie, Zambo, Ramirez.

Man United: de Gea, Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Shaw, Ander Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Lukaku, Martial.

Substitutes: Bailly, Sanchez, Rashford, Lingard, Young, Romero, McTominay.

Right, with 45 minutes to go before we get underway at Craven Cottage, how do we see this afternoon’s game unfolding? Let us know below.

Poll Results:

Man United win (374)
Draw (45)
Fulham win (35)

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF: We’re underway at Craven Cottage for the first half!

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League - Craven Cottage Source: EMPICS Sport


An early free-kick for Manchester United right from tip-off as Diogo Dalot is fouled just outside the box. Juan Mata swings in an inviting cross into the danger zone from the dead ball situation, but Paul Pogba’s headed effort is beaten away. 


A barnstorming start to this game as Fulham zip down the other end out of no-where as time and space opens up in midfield. Luciano Vietto gets on the end of a cross into the box, but he misses the target with the goal at his beg and mercy. End-to-end stuff already.


Another chance for Fulham, who have started brilliantly, you have to say. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads into the ground and the ball spills out to Andre Schurrle inside the box, but the German forward hits a left-footed effort the wrong side of the post. Man United looking oddly vulnerable from the get-go here.

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League - Craven Cottage Source: John Walton


The game has calmed down a bit after that frantic start. There’s a heavy gust of chilly wind blowing down through Craven Cottage today. You wouldn’t blame the players sporting a nice warm pair of gloves out there. Well, Graeme Souness probably would to be fair.


Nemanja Matic has gone down injured here, with play temporarily pausing. The Serbian midfielder took a nasty boot to the knee from Andre Schurrle competing for possession. Matic is a tough cookie though, and shakes it off after a few moments. Not a bother on him.

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League - Craven Cottage Source: John Walton


GOOOOOAL! Manchester United take the lead with 14 minutes on the clock and chants of ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’ ring around Craven Cottage. Anthony Martial finds Paul Pogba with a clever through ball low into the box, and the French midfielder slams a brilliant effort past Sergio Rico at his near post. An emphatic finish and it’s 1-0 to the visitors. 


United off the mark good and early in this game, and Fulham may feel a little hard done by. Claudio Ranieri’s men had a plethora of chances inside the opening few minutes but were found wanting at the back for that excellent Pogba finish. He deserves a huge amount of credit for the finish, but there will be big question marks over the marking of Maxime Le Marchand and Tim Ream in the centre of defence to let him free.


GOOOOOAL! Manchester United double their lead with some individual brilliance from Anthony Martial. The French winger breaks away with pace and precision down the left-hand channel before beating Sergio Rico with a brilliant finish into the bottom corner. What a run, what a goal.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Matt Dunham


The game is beginning to get away from Fulham here. Joe Bryan receives the game’s first yellow card for a rash sliding challenge on Chris Smalling and you do get the sense that frustration is building and building for the hosts at the moment. Nothing is going right.


Fulham try and break down the left where Ryan Babel delivers a cross towards the edge of the box, but Chris Smalling reaches possession first before Aleksandar Mitrovic can react. The hosts seem a little shellshocked after those two quick goals in succession. Plan A has gone out the window fairly swiftly for Claudio Ranieri, it seems.


Michael Seri takes matters into his own hands with an ambitious strike from distance. It looked like potentially troubling David De Gea there, before taking a deflection off Ander Herrera and out for a corner kick.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Matt Dunham


Ander Herrera and Tim Ream collide together and the Spaniard earns his side a free-kick after coming out worse for wear between the two players. He delivers a cross into the Fulham box, but it’s easily batted away at the first hurdle.


Frees all over the place now as loose, sliding challenges fly in left and right. This time Callum Chambers is the man in the referee’s bad books for a kick on Chris Smalling. Chambers receives a yellow card for his troubles after following through dangerously.


Anthony Martial runs menacingly at the Fulham defence again and you can feel the nervous energy shared between Denis Odoi and Maxime Le Marchand any time he gets the ball between his feet. He tries to snatch a second goal with a snapshot, but the winger’s effort is deflected wide. Martial is a constant threat in this game.


Phil Jones, of all bloody people, finds himself on the edge of the box. Drawing inspiration from his inner Paul Scholes, the defender has a pop from range which forces a strong save from Sergio Rico. To be fair to Jones, that was a decent strike.

Manchester United v Fulham - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Barrington Coombs


Nemanja Matic is the third man in the book this afternoon, receiving a yellow card from referee Paul Tierney for a foul in midfield as half-time approaches.


There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.


Late appeals for a handball inside the box from Phil Jones in stoppage time, as the home supporters shout and holler for a penalty. Replays show the ball struck Jones on the chest, with referee Paul Tierney making the right call.

Flag 46Mins

SECOND-HALF: We’re back underway at Craven Cottage for another 45 minutes!


A big undertaking if Fulham are to get anything out of this game in the second half, but to be honest Manchester United have been in total control of this game since Paul Pogba broke the deadlock after 14 minutes. A win today will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men go fourth temporarily as Chelsea face Manchester City tomorrow.


Paul Pogba wrestles possession in the middle of the park and lofts a decent ball towards Romelu Lukaku, who is completely unmarked with oceans of space behind him. It’s too good to be true, however, with the striker flagged for offside by the linesman.



It’s just not happening at all for Fulham. Denis Odoi takes possession at right back and attempts a standard, diagonal ball towards his opposite wing, but it fails to get off the ground and instead leads to a Manchester United counter-attack. Very poor.


The home crowd are very frustrated with what they’ve seen, and understandably so to some extent. Chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” could be heard aimed at Claudio Ranieri, which seems a tad bit harsh. He did win a Premier League with Leicester, to be fair.


Manchester United enjoying the lion’s share of possession here, the ball being spun to and fro between Paul Pogba and his midfield colleagues outside the perimeter of the Fulham box. It’s all very easy and straightforward for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League - Craven Cottage Source: John Walton


Save! Sergio Rico is called into action as Ander Herrera has a pop at goal from just outside the box. It’s a powerful drive from the Spaniard, but it’s right at the Fulham goalkeeper, who palms it clear before being hooked away. As Gary Neville says in commentary, it’s like a training match out there at the moment.


A chance for a third now as Maxime Le Marchand clumsily takes Juan Mata down inside the box. It’ll be Paul Pogba to take it, to try and put this game to bed with the guts of a half an hour remaining.


GOOOOAL! That man Paul Pogba makes no mistake and slots home his second of the afternoon, his eighth of the season so far. He takes a slow run-up, his trademark at this stage, and beats Rico with a precise effort right into the bottom corner. It’s 3-0 to the visitors and surely game over.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Matt Dunham



Close! David De Gea is called into action on a rare occasion this afternoon to prevent Aleksandar Mitrovic what would have been a superb finish. Slow, steady build-up play along the right from Fulham yielded a cross aimed towards Mitrovic, but his first-time volley was seen good and early by De Gea, who produced a very decent save.


Alexis Sanchez flies through on goal at the other end. It looks certain to be four, but his one-on-one comes up short as Sergio Rico sticks out his right foot to produce a low save towards his bottom corner. An excellent stop there to keep it at 3-0.


Oh, wow. Ryan Babel is presented with a golden chance on a silver plate right in front of goal, but somehow, somehow he manages to miss the target from three yards out. Ironically, the Dutch winger is substituted off seconds after his miss. He receives a sarcastic cheer from the travelling United supporters. You’d really hope that switch was planned before his miss. It would be quite cruel otherwise.


Ten minutes to go now and this is all but over. Claudio Ranieri makes another late switch with the introduction of the brilliant Ryan Sessegnon in place of Joe Bryan, but it seems far too little too late at this stage.


Eric Bailly comes on to replace Ander Herrera foe the last few minutes here. Chants of ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’ ring around Craven Cottage once again as the travelling supporters soak up another impressive win.


Surprisingly, both sides have each had 15 attempts on goal this afternoon. Fulham have not been completely dominated in terms of possession or shots on goal, but they sure haven’t made either count, it has to be said. David De Gea has not been tested to any extreme between the sticks.


Tensions rising in the final few minutes as De Gea and Aleksandar Mitrovic square up to each other after some words were exchanged. Players pile in from both sides to split them up and the referee is going to have a word. A yellow card each it is.


There will be three minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.

There we have it then. Another impressive win on the road for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men move into the top four until tomorrow at least, as Chelsea travel to take on Manchester City. A double from Paul Pogba either side of half-time and another from Anthony Martial put Fulham to the sword rather easily. Thanks a million for joining us this afternoon — you can read our full match report here. Cya!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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