MANCHESTER UNITED LOOKED to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to ten points when they visited Fulham in the late Saturday kick off.
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Result: Fulham 0 – 1 Manchester United
17.28 – We’ve just had the team news and Fulham make two changes from the win over West Ham with Chris Baird and Ashkan Dejagah replacing Steve Sidwell and striker Dimitar Berbatov respectively. The club’s deadline day signing Urby Emanuelson is on the bench.
Manchester United make a massive six changes from the win over Southampton. Defenders Rafael Da Silva, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans come into the side along with midfielders Tom Cleverley, Nani and Antonio Valencia. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Anderson, Shinji Kagawa, and Danny Welbeck make way for United.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise; Duff, Baird, Karagounis, Dejagh; Ruiz, Rodallega.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani; Rooney, Van Persie
17.32 – We’re hearing reports that Robin Van Persie is set to take over spot kick duties today should he be required after Wayne Rooney admitted he didn’t deserve the job after just nine successful penalties in 27 attempts.
18.00 – With 30 minutes gone, the pattern of the game seems to be set.
Fulham are having to defend deeper and deeper and inviting United to break them down.
So far, they haven’t been able to manage it but they look the more likely side to score.
18.03 – The post denies Manchester United again.
This time it’s Wayne Rooney from the edge of the Fulham area.
By my count, that’s four times already the woodwork has been involved.
Early contender for Man of the Match?
18.53 – Fulham have their first chance for some time as Karagounis makes the most of mix up in the United defence but fails to find the target with from the edge of the area.
At the other end, Rafael (who is wearing his brother’s boots as it happens) sees his speculative effort sail wide.
19.06 – Hernandez has replaced the ineffective Valencia for Manchester United while Fulham’s transfer deadline day signing Emmanuelson has come on for a limping Karagounis.
19.13 – This game has gotten really dull since the floodlight failure (sorry).
It’s hard to spotlight why the impetus has gone out of the game though (sorry again).
Maybe the introduction of Ryan Giggs will produce the spark the game needs (I’ll stop now).
19.29 – Just two minutes of injury time to go hear and Fulham have a corner.
They deserve at least a draw out of this game and very nearly get it but Van Persie clears the ball off his own goal-line.
Down the other end, Hernandez is one on one with the goalkeeper but can’t put the game away.
19.36 – So there we have it. It’s all over in London and Manchester United have played poorly and emerged with three points, not for the first time this season either.
While the opening third of the game was end-to-end stuff, the floodlight failure really took the sting out of this encounter.
It looked for a long time like neither team would find the breakthrough but, in the end though, Wayne Rooney’s strike proved the difference between the two sides.