United started the game like a house on fire
Up until the game against Fulham, United never really looked like a fully functional attacking unit in the Premier League. Most of the time, they just got by and came into the game, looking to keep their impressive run of six games unbeaten going. United were also looking to claim back-to-back league wins for the first time under Moyes.
Up until the game at Craven C0ttage, United hadn’t scored in the opening 30 minutes of any league game this season. But against the cottagers, they notched up three in the first half hour and looked like the United of old, as every single attack threatened the Fulham back four, who were shaky to say the least. Valencia got the first, a simple tap in, after good build-up play between Van Persie and Rooney. The pair linked up again for the third goal, as it was now Van Persie’s turn to set Rooney up with a simple tap-in. In between this, there was time for Van Persie to notch up his customary goal against Fulham and send United on their way to victory.
But, United didn’t turn up in the second half and were lucky to concede just one
After a scintillating start, many would have expected United to go on, in the second half and score a few more, and add to their goal difference. Instead, United were complacent and sat deeper and deeper as the half went on. They weren’t helped by the fact that both Rafael and Cleverley went into the break with a knock and didn’t make it back. And right from the start of the second half, it looked as if, United were happy to sit on their three goal cushion and let Fulham onto them.
But, as the game went on, that looked like the worst thing to do, as Fulham mounted on the pressure and created plenty of chances before they scored their only goal, a Kacaniklic shot, which deflected off Wayne Rooney and into the net. After a disappointing performance in the first half, Fulham came back stronger and not only did they score themselves, they also stopped it from becoming a rout.
RVP continues his red-hot scoring streak
Coming into the game against Fulham, Robin Van Persie had already scored 14 goals for club and country this season and was sitting joint tenth in the all-time leading Premier League goal scorers charts alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. But, barely a quarter of an hour into the game, he scored his sixth league goal of the season, his seventh goal against Fulham in his career.
Even in the second half, when United were toothless in attack, the Dutchman was the only real source of inspiration. Right towards the end, he had a chance to make it 4-1 and ease some nerves, but all he could manage was an air shot, but that should take nothing away from the Dutchman’s clinical finishing and his impressive hold up play. At number nine on the list is T Sheringham with 146, Van Persie now has 128 goals and you wouldn’t bet against him finishing the season beating Teddy’s record.
Moyes gets lucky, whilst time is running out for Jol
David Moyes started the game by rewarding Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley with a place in the starting XI for their performance in mid-week against Norwich. And although the pair did alright, they gave the ball away far too often and Phil Jones in particular, never really looked like he had the passing range to play in a two man central midfield. Moyes raised even more eyebrows when he made all three substitutions at half-time, even if, two of them were forced on him. Moyes still has a lot of convincing to do.
For his opposite number however, time is of the essence. Jol’s side are filled with far too many enigmas and not enough consistent performers. Players like B Ruiz and Berbatov haven’t really played too well so far and if this continues, he might well get the sack before too long. And although his side came back strongly in the second half, at times during the first half, it looked as though United could score with every single attack and his defense certainly needs some attention.
Valencia shows Moyes that he has more to his game than just attacking
Not only did the Ecuadorian score the opening goal, which was really well taken, he had a near perfect and his lung bursting runs throughout the game, were a major source of United’s attacks. In the first half, some of his combination play with Rafael was certainly a joy to watch and it is looking as though he is coming back to his old self.
In the second half, however, injury to Rafael meant that, he had to move back to right back. But that didn’t stop Valencia from continuing his great game, as he showcased the defense facet of his game really well. His fitness levels were nothing short of amazing and that showed when he took hold of the ball and ran more than 60 yards right towards the end of the game. If he keeps his performances up, Moyes will at least have one less thing to worry about in attack.