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West Ham United
August 25, 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 75352
R. van Persie 10'
S. Kagawa 35'
D. Duff 3'
N. Vidić 64' (own goal)
Manchester United have now scored in 50 successive Premier League home games, the longest run in PL history.
Just had some reaction from Sir Alex Ferguson on Wayne Rooney's injury: "It's a very bad gash. He's been whisked off to hospital and I think he'll be out for four weeks."
As for Fulham, what do they need to do to get a result from Old Trafford? There's some promising signs for Martin Jol though, and Moussa Dembele was arguably the best player on the pitch today.
On the plus side for Sir Alex Ferguson, both Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa scored on their home debuts. There were also some good performances from Rafael, Tom Cleverly and Patrice Evra.
Massive sigh of relief from the Old Trafford crowd at the final whistle there. They know their side made things much harder than they needed to be. On another day, Fulham could easily have snatched a point away from Manchester.
FULL-TIME: Referee calls time on an unconvincing performance from Manchester United, who eventually run out 3-2 winners against a spirited Fulham side.
90' + 6'
Some great work by Dembele finds Ruiz in the centre, who heads straight at De Gea. Either side and Fulham would have had themselves a point.
90' + 4'
So Manchester United will have to finish the game with just ten players, and there should still be at least another two minutes to play.
90' + 4'
Rooney is still being treated here for his wound, and is now being taken off the field to a warm reception from the crowd.
90' + 2'
Rodallega smashes into the wall and United escape. The game is stopped after it appears Rooney has a deep gash on his thigh. Nasty.
90' + 1'
Matt Briggs wins his side a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal.
90' + 1'
Michael Carrick picks out a smart pass to find Rooney who fires narrowly over. Fulham go straight up the other end and win themselves a corner kick.
A long free-kick is punted into the United box and De Gea punches clear after being allegedly fouled. Bit lucky to win a free-kick there. There will be four minutes of added time.
Fulham have lost a bit of impetus here and they could do with a second wind. United have now calmed it down and look set to take their opening win of the season. Still, there's enough time left for the visitors.
Some space opens up nicely for Tom Cleverly who smashes in a low shot just wide of the post.
This is still pretty unconvincing stuff from United. Simple passes are going astray as they attempt to wind down the clock.
There's a half chance there for Fulham, Rodallega is slipped in by Bryan Ruiz but his shot is well blocked. Eight minutes left on the clock...
It is Anderson who makes way for Giggs, not van Persie. So the Dutchman will get the whole 90 minutes. Meanwhile Diarra is withdrawn for Chris Baird.
Olympian Ryan Giggs is getting ready on the touchline, will it be the goalscorer van Persie who departs?
Rafael could have had a hat-trick today, no joke. Mark Schwarzer tips over after the right-back fires in a swerving shot that looked to be heading for the top corner.
Fifteen minutes left on the clock and Old Trafford is still nervously quiet. United have picked it up a little in the last few minutes but they could do with another goal to make sure of those three points.
Hangelaand, already on a yellow card, is a bit lucky to get away with a crunching challenge on Robin van Persie.
It seems as though Danny Welbeck has been positioned out on the left wing, while Rooney and van Persie have been paired together up front. Whatever the formation, there's plenty of firepower up there.
Fulham's second change is Hugo Rodallega on for Mladen Petric. That was a decent performance from the Croatian and he's had a good start to his Premier League career.
Sloppy defending there from United from the resulting corner, and De Gea is called into action once again to stop Dembele's close-range stab towards goal. Fulham can't do this, can they?
Fulham's star of the day has been midfielder Moussa Dembele, and he forces a smart stop out of De Gea. Nervous moments here for Manchester United.
With Fulham looking the better side now, Fergie is quick to make the changes with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck coming on for Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa.
An absolute nightmare for David De Gea (it's been a while since we said that!) The Spaniard comes to get a punch on the ball from a cross into the box but finds himself sandwiched between Vidic and Petric and the ball somehow gets deflected in off Vidic's heel. I did say this game wasn't done with yet!
Own Goal Nemanja Vidic
GOAL! Fulham are back in it via an own goal from Nemanja Vidic. An absolute gift of a goal which came out of nowhere.
More patient build-up play from United, and a trademark Ashley Young in-swinging cross narrowly misses the onrushing van Persie.
Alex Kačaniklić makes way for Sidwell.
An hour in, and Fulham are going to make the first change of the day with Steve Sidwell readying himself for action on the sidelines.
van Persie turns provider again, chipping in a delightful cross on to the head of Rafael, who fails to keep his header down. If the Brazilian had left that then Ashley Young would have had a free header on goal there.
Aaron Hughes recovers well to stop Ashley Young's shot, after the winger was found in space by van Persie's clever through-ball.
Michael Carrick breathes a sigh of relief as his clearing header finds its way onto the top of De Gea's net, rather than drop below it from Kačaniklić's left wing cross.
There's an appeal for a penalty there as Ashley Young is felled in the box, but the decision goes the other way as the German defender Riether is hauled to the ground.
Once again Fulham have a tidy period of possession but they struggle to make any headway into United's half. Whereas as soon as United win the ball back they instantly break forward and look a threat every time they're in and around the Fulham 18-yard box.
Ashley Young's raking long ball finds Antonio Valencia over on the right wing, and his drilled centre is narrowly missed by Shinji Kagawa. The second period starts just as the first half ended.
The teams are back out for the second half and man of the hour Robin van Persie will get us back under way. Can the 29-year-old add to his tally as the rain starts to tumble down here in the north-west?
All the half-time conversations will be centred around THAT volley from van Persie. It was just trademark RVP.
Despite that late scare at the end there, United have been well on top and they've created chance after chance. Still, Fulham aren't completely out of it and every so often we see that lapse in concentration in the United defence that was so prevalent last season.
HALF-TIME: Manchester United come from behind to lead Fulham 3-1 at half-time, with Robin van Persie scoring a delightful half volley on his first start for the club.
45' + 1'
For what seems like the first time in this game, there's not much to talk about. Not that we can complain about a lack of drama!
What an escape that is for United. De Gea stops Damien Duff's shot from just outside the box but it falls directly into the path of Mladen Petric. The Spanish goalkeeper deflects Petric's shot onto the crossbar after a game of pinball in the United penalty area. Top save that, and Bryan Ruiz's resulting shot flies over the bar.
The Brazilian has been absolutely brilliant in at right-back so far and gets his rewards with a goal. Manchester United get the ball wide as patiently as ever, and a dinked cross to the back post from Young is nodded in with ease by the approaching Rafael. 3-1.
Assist Ashley Young
Goal!!! United make it three courtesy of Rafael's close range header.
Fulham are really under the cosh here, and they'll do well to head into the half-time interval just one goal behind. Van Persie goes close again and Cleverly crashes in a shot. The pressure is being cranked up here on the visitors at Old Trafford.
United are inches away from adding another goal, in fact the ball does end up in the net again but this time it is offside. Kagawa dances around a number of challenges but his calm shot crashes off the post, and after Ashley Young's rebound shot is well saved by Schwarzer, Rafael taps in. The Brazilian was correctly called for offside though.
Tom Cleverly smashes in a Paul Scholes-esque shot, which Schwarzer in the Fulham goal fails to handle. The Australian palms straight into the path of Shinji Kagawa who has the simple job of tapping into an empty net. The Fulham players appeal for an offside, but the linesman got that decision spot on as the Japanese midfielder was being played onside by Riether.
Goal Shinji Kagawa
Goal! United 2-1 Fulham, Kagawa taps in for a goal on his home debut.
Yellow Card Brede Hangeland
Fulham's Norwegian defender Brade Hangelaand has had his name taken in the book after a crushing challenge on Rafael.
The United midfielder are struggling to get to grips with Dembele, who skips away from a couple of challenges with some nifty footwork of his own. The talented Belgian wins a free-kick for his side and another priceless breather.
Hmm, United are a bit fortunate there. Rafael passes back to De Gea who is quickly hunted down by Petric. The Spaniard produces a nifty trick to escape the Croatian and safely sees away the danger, but I can't see Fergie being too happy with that. Could easily have turned out so wrong.
The hosts counter from Fulham's corner kick and the ball ends up with Valencia in the middle of the park. The Ecuadorian cuts inside and fires in a powerful shot that narrowly misses Mark Schwarzer's post.
That's much better from Fulham though, they build up the play patiently and win themselves another corner. United clear at the second attempt.
Fulham camped in their own half now. They attempt a few counter attacks but there's just not enough bodies up there to make the ball stick. Diarra attempts an arrowed long ball over to Duff, but Vidic easily deals with the threat.
Talking of weak efforts, we now witness one from Ashley Young. This time Kagawa does feed the England winger, but his placed shot flies harmlessly over the bar.
Not content with seeing his teammate Robin van Persie score on his home debut, Shinji Kagawa looks to score himself. He breaks forward in the middle of the pitch and tries an ambitious shot from 25 yards out, which fails to trouble Schwarzer. Bit of a weak effort, that, and Ashley Young was in plenty of space down the left.
Rafael finds Patrice Evra in space on the left hand side, who loops in a cross that falls to Fulham defender Matt Briggs, who chests down for Schwarzer to pick up. Bit of a breakdown in communication though, as the ball drops out for a corner.
United win a free-kick over on the right wing after Matt Briggs brings down Antionio Valencia. van Persie delivers, but fails to beat the first man Riether.
United are utilising their full-backs and wingers brilliantly here, Evra, Rafael, Young and Valencia are all heavily involved in the build-up play.
Fulham force a corner up the other end of the pitch after Moussa Dembele's shot is deflected, but nothing comes of it. Don't be fooled, Martin Jol's side are after more than a point here.
Assist Patrice Evra
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL for United! Who else, but van Persie? An absolutely sumptuous strike. Evra crosses in low and the Dutchman rises and twists to turn the ball into the top corner.
This is much better from United, Valencia, Anderson and Rafael exchange some neat passes but fail to find van Persie in the six yard box. Fulham falling deeper and deeper towards their own goal here.
The home side are now putting some passes together and they force a couple of corners from the left hand side. Two tempting crosses in from Ashley Young but Fulham manage to survive.
Nervous times here for United, it's far too early to make any rash predictions regarding the title race but they can't really afford to start the new campaign with two defeats. Antonio Valencia finds some space down the right hand side but his drilled cross misses everybody in the box.
An intelligent low delivery from Bryan Ruiz subsequently catches the hosts' defence completely unawares and Damien Duff capitalises by matching his clever front-post run with a low finish into the corner.
Assist Bryan Ruiz
Goal Damien Duff
GOAL! Damien Duff for the away side.
Rafael is back in the United line-up today at right-back, but the Brazilian is off to a sloppy start as he gives away possession in his own half. Petric takes the ball down the left wing and gets himself in a promising position, only to be clipped by Michael Carrick as he looks to cross. Sloppy start indeed by the home side, who give away a free-kick in a dangerous area.
The two sides are out on the pitch, United in red and Fulham in white. Nice and simple. And it's the Cottagers who get us underway.
The teams are out in the tunnel, and as you'd expect all the cameras are focused on Manchester United's new star striker. Until Usain Bolt is introduced to the crowd, that is. The 100m and 200m Olympic champion is being paraded around the pitch with his Gold medals to chants of "Fergie, Fergie sign him up!". Still after that trial, I assume?
It should also be noted Clint Dempsey has been left out of Fulham's squad once again, the rumours linking the American to Liverpool just won't go away.
Sir Alex Ferguson will have been disappointed with Monday night's 1-0 reversal at the hands of Everton. They'll be odds on to grab their first league win this afternoon though, and you can't look past the Dutchman Robin van Persie to get on the scoresheet, surely?
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Briggs, Duff, Diarra, Dembele, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Petric. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Baird, Sidwell, Kasami, Rodallega, Halliche.
Today's line-ups: Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Carrick, Vidic, Evra, Cleverley, Anderson, Valencia, Kagawa, Young, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Evans, Rooney, Giggs, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes.
Despite their opening day 5-0 thrashing of Norwich City last weekend, Fulham will be up against it this afternoon. Manchester United have won the last nine league and cup meetings against Fulham at Old Trafford, and Martin Jol's side have conceded 16 goals in their last six attempts, failing to score in the last five. It's fair to say the Cottagers don't have the best of records here in Salford.
Good afternoon everybody and welcome to today's commentary of Manchester United v Fulham from Old Trafford, hosted by Matt Scrafton. The big news is that Robin van Persie starts for United, replacing Wayne Rooney who drops down to the substitutes bench.
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