Player ratings as stunner Paul Pogba sends Red Devils into the lead
Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.
Ademola Lookman gave Fulham the lead within six minutes, hanging on to Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s lifted pass and his return home.
United grew in the game and were level after 21 minutes. Bruno Fernandes’ cross was placed on Edinson Cavani’s path by Alphonse Areola, and the Uruguayan striker was not mistaken.
The Red Devils took the lead in the second half with a moment of sheer genius, Paul Pogba sending a superb long-range effort into the net.
Let’s get into some player reviews.
Alphonse Areola (GK) – 6/10 – Failure to deal with Fernandes’ low cross, putting him in Cavani’s path as United equalized. Made a good save moments later to prevent an effort by Fernandes, and a fabulous save in the second half to deny Cavani.
Kenny Tete (RB) – 6/10 – Big asks to manage both Martial and Shaw, but stays true to his task.
Tosin Adarabioyo (CB) – 7/10 – Popped in with a large block to negate Greenwood at the end of the first half and turned into a really tenacious display.
Joachim Andersen (CB) – 6/10 – Helped maintain a smart Fulham line, catching United offside on several occasions.
Ola Aina (CB) – 6/10 – Confident playing from the back and turned into a stubborn defensive change.
Joe Byran (LB) – 6/10 – Did a good job on Mason Greenwood, keeping the United winger relatively calm.
Harrison Reed (CM) – 5/10 – Pogba got the better of him in preparing for United’s second-place finish, with Reed giving United a bit too much space on the edge of Fulham’s box. Clean and tidy in possession.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa – 6/10 – Chose Lookman with a perfect floating ball behind as the Cottagers took the lead. In the heart of the action, emerges with a few clear bullets.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (RW) – 6/10 – Some quality flashes in the second half, passing the ball past Maguire, leading to the signing and making a tempting delivery. Could have leveled the scores, but was prevented by a good save from De Gea.
Ademola Lookman (ST) – 7/10 – Gave Fulham the lead in the fifth minute with a clinical finish from close range, rushing behind and leaving De Gea no chance.
Ivan Cavaleiro (LW) – 4/10 – Blew hot and cold – it looked like he could have had Wan-Bissaka’s beat, but his first contact and decision making was sometimes lacking.
Aboubakar Kamara – 5/10
Mario Lemina – 5/10
Aleksandar Mitrovic – 5/10
David de Gea (GK) – 7/10 – Produced a crucial save to deny Loftus-Cheek in the second half.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 6/10 – Played Lookman in play for Fulham’s opener. Given a somewhat difficult period by Lookman and sometimes lax in possession in the first half, much more assured defensively in the second.
Eric Bailly (CB) – 6/10 – Question marks over United’s two middle halves for Fulham’s opener, Lookman offered acres of space to run behind without a mark.
Harry Maguire (CB) – 6/10 – Doubts over United’s defense for Fulham’s opener given the ease with which Lookman drifted on goal unopposed. Failed to hit the target with a free wedge header.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 7/10 – Put in some dangerous crosses in the second half and was secured defensively once again.
Fred (CM) – 6/10 – Typically tenacious and combative, which gives Pogba and Fernandes the freedom to wield their magic.
Paul Pogba (CM) – 8/10 – Sent in a fabulous ball to spot Fernandes in the second half, before giving United the lead with an incredibly daring solo strike from a distance. Something of real beauty.
Bruno Fernandes (CAM) – 7/10 – Slammed the post with his first sight of the goal with a softly slapped first-half effort, before his dangerous cross was turned into Cavani’s way for United to equalize.
Mason Greenwood (RW) – 6/10 – Drifted in and out of the game, sending in a few teasing deliveries and sometimes reaching Fulham’s back line, but largely a bit isolated.
Edinson Cavani (ST) – 8/10 – Hopped in the right place at the right time to jump on Areola’s spill and level the scores. Put in such a change and caused Fulham all kinds of trouble with his smart move.
Anthony Martial (LW) – 6/10 – Climbed the highest and headed a half-chance towards the end of the first period.
Marcus Rashford – N / A
Scott McTominay – N / A
Nemanja Matic – N / A