LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United celebrates his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Well that was nice on a Wednesday afternoon (evening for you Brits). Manchester United started the scoring early with Danny Welbeck's opener in the 4th minute and continued right through to the end with Wayne Rooney's 30 yard swerving effort, and Dmitar Berbatov's cheeky backheel. The only downside was the possible additions of Phil Jones and Ashley Young to the list of broken and/or hobbled that United appear to be accumulating. Jones's injury appears to be a concussion/head injury that he played through for an additional 15 mins before substituting. Young went down awkwardly around the hour mark. Both went off on their own and more info will be provided after the post-match presser.
In the first half United's attack focused on the wings and was lethal when the ball was played wide. Welbeck's opener was a direct product of a brilliant piece of skill from Nani in his position wide left. He was able to beat two Fulham defenders to the touchline and cut the ball back to a completely unmarked Danny Welbeck. That was just a sign of things to come as Nani was able to get the slightest of touches to a Ryan Giggs cross that found the back of the net in the 28th minute and Giggs was able to get on the scoresheet, for the 20th Premier League season in a row, with the assistance of a heavy deflection, after a nice counterattack by the Red Devils in the 43rd.
The second half opened with Fulham pressing to get a foothold in the match and had a handful of half-chances that they couldn't convert. As the clock wound past the 85th minute and the United faithful resigned themselves to another uneventful second half, Rooney popped up with a wonder strike that few in the world could execute any better. With plenty of time and space to turn and face goal from midfield, Wazza took 2 touches and unleashed a cracker that had Fulham keeper David Stockdale rooted to his line in the center of goal as the ball went in off the right post. United weren't done yet, however, as the ball was worked wide through Nani to Antonio Valencia who put in a cross at the edge of the six yard box that Dmitar Berbatov was able to backheel into the goal while holding off his defender.
This is easily the brightest Manchester United attack I have seen since September. The front four attackers were a threat to score with every move into the final third. The midfield pairing of Giggs and Carrick also worked well with the amount of time United maintained possession and the tilt of the game really favored the selection of the more attack minded Giggs over a more conservative Phil Jones. Defensively, there were 15 shots conceded, which is too many, but only one was a legitimate chance that Danny Murphy hit wide at the end. Very encouraging stuff today as Manchester United transition to the second half of the season.
Who was the Man of the Match versus Fulham?
Wayne Rooney (14 votes)
Antonio Valencia (2 votes)
Danny Welbeck (4 votes)
Nani (40 votes)
Ryan Giggs (7 votes)
Chris Smalling (1 vote)
Other (specify in comments) (1 vote)
69 total votes