Fulham battled to a get hard earned and well deserved point drawing 2-2 against Manchester United this afternoon. Craven Cottage has not been a happy hunting ground for United in the last few seasons and today’s draw means they have won only one point out a possible nine in their past three visits.
Wayne Rooney was absent from today’s action with a stomach bug. Whilst Rooney sat at home supping on chicken soup, Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez was picked to make his first Premiership start for United. Sir Alex opted for youth over experience choosing Hernandez over Michael Owen to start alongside Berbatov.
The first half was a fairly even with both teams having chances. Stockdale and Van der Sar were both called upon to make some great saves. The two teams were separated only by a Paul Scholes rocket from outside the area in the first ten minutes. Scholes’ precise passing orchestrated United’s best moves throughout the first half.
Berbatov played a significant part in the game teeing up Scholes’ drive, but was unable to convert any of his many chances. Hernandez showed a few flashes of brilliance, but did not fully live up to the hype that has built up around him of late.
Fulham’s equaliser came early in the second half when Bobby Zamora pulled the ball across the box for Davies to finish. Zamora was one of the stand-out performers on the Fulham team, having a number of chances that went narrowly wide. Fulham had the better of United for most of the second half and were unlucky not to receive a penalty after Nemanja Vidic pulled the shirt of Moussa Dembele in the box with the score at 1-1.
There was a dramatic last ten minutes to the game with United retaking the lead through an unlucky own goal from Hangeland. Fulham’s luck then took another downturn with Damien Duff being deemed to have handled in the area and seemingly handing the game to United. However an excellent save from Stockdale kept Fulham in the game. This proved to be a pivotal moment and a late header from Hangeland drew the sides’ level once again and punished United’s failure to finish them off.
United fans are sure to have a sickening feeling having dropped points so early on in the season, especially as it means that Chelsea are the only team in the Premiership to have taken maximum points from their opening two games.
Here is a wonderful cartoon depicting Rooney’s plight: http://twitpic.com/2hhkrf
Fulham: Stockdale 8, Konchesky 7, Pantsil 6, Hangeland 6, Hughes 6, Murphy 7(Greening 81st min), Duff 7, Etuhu 6, Dempsey 6 (Dembele 61st min), Davies 7( Gera 92nd min), Zamora 7.
Manchester United: Van der Sar 7, Evra 7, Vidic 6, O’Shea 6, Evans 6, Park Ji-Sung 6 (Nani 67th min), Scholes 8, Fletcher 6, Valencia 6 (Giggs 74th min),Berbatov 6, 14 Hernandez 6 (Owen 75th min).
Man of the Match: David Stockdale
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