Manchester United beat Fulham 2-1 in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Craven Cottage. Christian Eriksen struck for the visitors in the first half, with Daniel James then levelling for the hosts after the interval. But Alejandro Garnacho popped up with a dramatic winner at the death and Express Sport will now take a look at five things we learned from the showdown in the capital.
Eriksen is United’s own De Jong
Back in the summer, Erik ten Hag wanted United to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.
However, they ultimately missed out on the 25-year-old with the Netherlands international reluctant to leave the Nou Camp – having grown up supporting the La Liga giants as a child.
But while United missed out on De Jong, they were able to recruit Eriksen on a free transfer from Brentford.
He operates in a similar role to De Jong and was at his slick and brilliant best against Fulham, helping to dictate play and manage the game in the middle of the park.
Eriksen’s goal capped a good display from the playmaker who, with each passing game, just gets better and better.
United are short on the right
United were without both Diogo Dalot and Antony for today’s Premier League showdown with Fulham.
Dalot was suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season against Aston Villa last week, while Antony was sidelined due to injury.
And it was clear during the contest, particularly with James’ leveller, that United are short when it comes to that side of their team – even if Garnacho’s late winner gave them all three points.
Tyrell Malacia looked vulnerable in Dalot’s absence, with Willian regularly exploiting the former Feyenoord star.
And, a second half shot aside, Anthony Elanga offered precious little of note during his time on the field.
Fernandes a heartbeat of this team
While Eriksen stole the show with his composed performance in midfield, Bruno Fernandes remains the heartbeat of this side.
It was his assist that allowed the Dane to score, with the Portugal international putting the ball on a plate after cross in from the left.
Fernandes doesn’t score with the frequency of old.
But United are far better with him than without, with the former Sporting Lisbon playmaker always making things happen.
He was missed against Aston Villa last week and Fernandes is an undroppable figure in this side, while it’s no surprise to see him wearing the captain’s armband these days at a time where Harry Maguire is struggling for action.
De Gea critics are unfair
Yes, David De Gea’s distribution isn’t as good as what Alisson and Ederson do at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
But the Spain international is one of the best in the world when it comes to shot-stopping – as his display against Fulham proved.
De Gea was outstanding in the first half, parrying everything that came his way.
And he was at his acrobatic best in the second, too, with the 31-year-old able to expertly tip a header from Tim Ream over the bar.
Though he was unable to do anything about James’ leveller, based on this evidence, he’s certainly a player worth keeping. There’s been talk of a departure but De Gea is still one of the best in the business.
Fulham will be alright
Fulham dug deep against United and were fully deserving of a point until Garnacho produced the late drama.
It was certainly another encouraging display from Marco Silva’s side, who have been exceeding expectations ever since their promotion.
In previous years, Fulham have found themselves in a relegation scrap with the Cottagers constantly yo-yoing between the Premier League and Championship.
But that doesn’t seem like this will be the case this time around.
Fulham look like they’re here to stay and they’ll be hoping to continue their push for Europe when the top flight resumes after the World Cup.