Fulham 0-3 United: Five things we learned

We take a look at five things we learned from United away victory against Fulham.
Angelina Kelly  |  11th February 2019

After a quiet 1-0 away victory over Leicester, United came back with a bang against Fulham last weekend with a spectacular 3-0 win at Craven Cottage.

This, paired with Chelsea disastrous 6-0 defeat to Manchester City, meant that the Reds finally re-entered the top four and sit one point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Reds are now in a great position in the league and can focus on their Champions League meeting with Ligue 1 giants PSG.

United welcome the French champions to Old Trafford in the first leg of their round-of-16 game, and with momentum continuously building with Ole and his team, the Reds have every chance of getting a home win on Tuesday.

In preparation for a busy week, what did Saturday’s win show us about Ole’s team?

Pogba performs when he’s happy

 

Just when you thought you had seen the best that Paul Pogba had to offer in a United shirt, the Frenchman pulled a brace out of the bag on Saturday, meaning that he now has eight goals in his last eight Premier League games.

His transformation, considering he wasn’t even in Mourinho’s starting line-up towards then end of his dismal reign, is astounding. His turnaround just proves that when he is happy, playing the type of football he wants to play in a positive environment, Pogba can do amazing things.

Pogba personified everything great about Solskjaer’s time at United on Saturday, with an impressive first-half finish that got the Reds off to a great start, and a second-half penalty with a run up that may have frustrated some, but an important goal that secured United’s win nonetheless.

His overall game against Fulham was great to watch as he literally ran riot at Craven Cottage, displaying great control and strength galore, so much so that Claudio Ranieri’s men looked utterly intimidate and never really got hold of the Frenchman.

The 25-year-old is arguably in the greatest form of his life. Combine this with United’s sustainable and impressive momentum must surely fill United fans with hope in preparation for a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain.

The incredible stats behind Pogba’s form under Solskjaer

Paul Pogba to Score & Man Utd to Win 2-0, 2-1 OR 3-1 (vs PSG) WAS 9.00 NOW 10.00*

Perfect Prep for PSG

 

Saturday’s game was a great warm-up for Tuesday night, and Solskjaer certainly made some smart managerial decisions. Taking the opportunity to rest the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Victor Lindelof completely, and to be able to substitute Pogba within 70 minutes was a great move.

Not only did the Reds take home a win, but Ole’s team were able to produce exciting, attractive football, proving that he has a great squad to choose from and doesn’t always need every star name on the pitch to get a good win.

Making six changes to the side that won at Leicester, many would be concerned but having one eye on the Champions League game paid off, leaving numerous players available to face PSG.

Could top 4 become a reality?

 

The words ‘top four’ seemed like an unattainable milestone under Mourinho. However, hope has been restored as fans dare to do the maths and dream of Champions League qualification next season.

Although we still have a meeting with PSG and games against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, City and Chelsea, the sheer momentum and talent at Old Trafford should surely security qualification.

Fulham was another step in the right direction for United, and proof that maybe Ole’s initial success was not a fluke. Perhaps the Norwegian has simply been in the right place at the right time, restoring confidence in struggling players and bringing joy to fans. This paired with almost maximum points should give fans confidence in the team’s ability to finish the season in fourth position, if not higher.

Tony Martial scores again

 

Martial’s first start since signing his five-year contract extension was a game to remember. The Frenchman made it 2-0 with a breath-taking goal that put Fulham’s defence to shame.

For the nostalgic fans, the goal took us back to another Fulham goal that one Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the Reds – could Marital be set on a similar trajectory?

At 23-year-old, producing impressive performances and impressive goals, if the Frenchman continues to improve after a lacklustre start to the season, does he possess the talent to become one of the greatest like Ronaldo? Most certainly.

Defensive Dilemma

 

The return of Chris Smalling, who has not appeared for the Reds since 8th December, has given Ole some food for thought. Although the defender started off rather shaky, Smalling managed to put in a good performance, giving Solksjaer another option within his back four.

The manager now has four fit centre backs to choose from, and with Lindelof certain to start after numerous impressive performances, his partner still remains unknown.

Whilst the likely partner will be Eric Bailly, Smalling will be a good option on the bench.

However, with Smalling’s return, more question marks are being raised over the future of Marcos Rojo. The Argentine has had numerous issues with injuries and as time goes it is increasingly likely that he could bid farewell to Old Trafford this summer.

*all odds are subject to change

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