1) In the last couple of seasons or so, Craven Cottage hasn’t been our favourite place to go. The last 3 seasons we’ve had a 3-0 loss, a 2-0 loss and a woeful 2-2 draw; so I personally wasn’t expecting a lot to come from United as it’s often a bogey ground for us. But fortunately, I was proven wrong. United ran riot and secured a brilliant 5-0 win with goals coming from Welbeck, Nani, Giggs, Rooney and Berba. What was most pleasing was the fact that we played some brilliant football. It really was a joy to watch. The game was a nice follow-on to an impressive performance at QPR.
2) Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Our new ‘hard man’, Phil Jones, came off with a suspected cheekbone fracture which is likely to affect him for up to a month. Jones has been key this season, especially when playing in midfield with Carrick. I was surprised to see this broken up last night, as it was working so well, but we obviously need somebody to replace the injured Ferdinand. Hopefully this won’t be a continuing problem. There’s a possibility that Jones could be playing as early as next week, sporting a face mask. The only other negative was that Ashley Young came off with an ankle injury which will rule him out for 2-3 weeks. When the only negatives were our injuries you know we’ve performed well. Great stuff.
3) Well, what a night for goals! The first goal came from Danny Welbeck with Nani running down the wing and cutting the ball inside the box for Welbeck to slide the ball home from close range. United’s second goal was from a short corner with Giggs then whipping the ball in for Nani to get the decisive touch. The third again came from a Nani assist; pulling the ball back for Ryan Giggs to sweep it home (taking a deflection off Senderos). Not only was this the 19,999 goal of the Premier League, but it confirmed that Giggsy has now scored in every Premier League season.
Our next, the 4th goal, came in the 88th minute, but it was definitely worth the wait. Wayne Rooney (making his 300th appearance for the Red Devils) picked the ball up from midfield running with it and unleashing a stunning effort into the Fulham net. Finally, the last goal came in the 90th minute when Antonio Valencia burst into the box to slide it across the oncoming defender leaving the overcool Dimitar Berbatov to simply back heel it into the net. Plenty of goals from different goal scorers is definitely excellent and another from Rooney shows how he’s in one of his ‘goal scoring bursts’ right now. Nani had a pair of assists which is also excellent, when on form; he’s probably the best winger in the league.
4) Another positive from the match is that we have continued our excellent away form. We’ve now played 9, won 7, drawn 2, lost none, scored 19 and conceded 3. Slaughter me if I’m wrong, but is this not the same United team that is supposed to be in decline? Don’t joke. In our away games this season, we’ve only dropped points at Stoke and Liverpool which are hard places to go. I know that we still need to travel to the Council House, Stamford Bridge, The Emirates and White Hart Lane, but this away form is brilliant and will give the players huge confidence going into the harder trips. United are now one win away from equaling our away record for the whole of last season, and admittedly that wasn’t excellent but it’s great we’ve put it right.
5) Finally, like I said earlier, we are at last playing good football again! At times last night I thought our link up play was outstanding. And with players like Nani and Rooney having brilliant games we really look top class. Nani’s hitting a decent bit of form and has stopped being rather unselfish at times which is brilliant to see. Valencia looks a different player from the start of the season when he was drowsy and refused to take players on, so he just adds to our options on the wing. Overall, our attacking options are immense with Danny also looking lethal and now that we’ve settled at the back, we’re looking like much more of a force. Bring on Wigan on Boxing Day!
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