Fulham vs Manchester United result: Five things we learned as United come from behind to win

Karl Matchett
·4-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester United again displayed their ability to come from behind and win on the road, beating Fulham 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Ademola Lookman scored with Fulham’s first real attack of the game, played in from deep and burying his shot past David de Gea, but Edinson Cavani equalised from close range after Alphonse Areola couldn’t hold a simple cross.

Both teams had openings after the break, with Fulham’s pace on the counter-attack a real threat but United dominating possession.

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In the end it was Paul Pogba’s fierce strike from range which won the day - though Fulham also snatched a late point when Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header was deflected just wide by Eric Bailly.

Here are five things we learned as United went back to the top of the Premier League.

Fulham’s turnaround

They might have lost, but the difference in performance level from Fulham in the past few weeks compared to at the start of the season is vast.

The team is much-changed since then, with loan signings making a real difference, but the shape is also improved, the determination and belief of the team is improved and the overall outlook for the team is more positive.

All that, despite remaining inside the relegation zone. Scott Parker knows he needs points, but there have been constant reasons to believe they can get themselves out of the difficult position.

Predatory instincts

Cavani’s performance was extraordinary - he was the oldest player in the United line-up by a distance, but also the most energetic, the most hard-working and the most effective.

He has arguably earned the start after some good impacts off the bench previously, and his goal and overall showing will make it difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to keep leaving him on the bench.

It might be that he has to pick and choose when to use the Uruguayan to an extent, but Cavani showed at Craven Cottage he still has the relentless running in his legs and the brain to match any defence - as well as the finishing skills.

Pogba…again

The No. 6 has been a polarising figure yet again this season, but the truth is that Pogba has almost won United an extra six points in the space of a week.

His winner against Burnley last week turned a draw into a victory and he did the same here too; in between he almost notched a late winning goal at Anfield, only for Alisson Becker to deny him.

Still, his value in tight matches and against hard-working defences has been proven invaluable, with his strength, ability to shoot from range and willingness to try the unexpected the ultimate difference between two frustrating away draws and being top of the Premier League with an extra pair of wins.

Battle at the bottom

The Cottagers already knew they couldn’t get out of the bottom three even with a win, but the way they forced the issue for much of the second half showed they felt this was a game they could earn something from - even if United had been top until recently.

Fulham have now lost back-to-back fixtures, but against Chelsea and United is not exactly an embarrassment.

Ground lost on those above them or not, the performance level, defensive determination and build-up play has the look of a team which can pick up points with regularity - and with Brighton and West Brom their next league opponents, that is a huge trait to have.

Turntables at the top

United were top after a weekend draw at the home of the champions, with optimism high at the whistle.

Fast forward all of three days and Leicester have been top, then Manchester City, now United have regained the position. It’s testament to the tight-knit nature of the top of the table and how much is riding on every game right now.

Solskjaer will see this win as a huge one, a well-deserved one which, as he put it, “backs up” the point earned against Liverpool at the weekend.

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