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Manchester United 1-2 Fulham – five things noticed, including player “horror show”



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Manchester United fell to a first defeat of 2024 as Fulham defeated Erik ten Hag’s side 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

To replace Rasmus Højlund, Erik ten Hag elected to hand Omari Forson his first-ever start for Manchester United‘s first team as they welcomed Fulham to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

The first half, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate, saw Fulham with the better chances – André Onana had to make some very good saves at the Stretford End to keep the scores level.

Read More: Player Ratings – Manchester United 1-2 Fulham (Premier League)

Fulham drew first blood as Calvin Bassey handed Fulham the lead at Old Trafford after 65 minutes, smashing in a bouncing ball in the area that resulted from a corner, and it took until minute 87 for United to reply thanks to a tap in from Harry Maguire.

However, it was Alex Iwobi who turned hero in the 90+7th minute, scoring a winning counter-attack with just minutes left at Old Trafford to sink the Manchester club.

#1 – Forson’s debut

Starting in place of Højlund in the XI, Forson started out wide on the right-hand side, with Marcus Rashford playing centrally in attack.

Forson was not overly involved in the first half, but flashes showed that he was not lacking in confidence, taking one shot and playing 18/19 accurate passes in the opening 45 minutes.

He was replaced by Christian Eriksen after 53 minutes following Casemiro’s forced substitution, with Ten Hag reshuffling his midfield.

#2 – Ten Hag’s “fluid” solution

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Ten Hag was asked how he will replace Højlund, to which he replied: “They have to occupy space, but they can change positions. They know where they have to play, but we will be fluid.

“We will be unpredictable at times. They are dynamic. They like to take up space. They can be a threat.”

This was certainly true, with Rashford, Garnacho, and Forson (and later Fernandes) playing across the front line throughout the fixture. However, Højlund’s presence was dearly missed up front, with United failing to look threatening in attack.

#3 – Lindelöf’s sub-par cover

Victor Lindelöf was shoved in at left-back to cover for the injured Luke Shaw, with Manchester United currently struggling for full-back options due to injury.

It was not a fantastic performance from the Swede, who was outmuscled and outplayed multiple times throughout the tie – but he does deserve credit for a moment in the second half where he was able to stop Pereira from scoring at the back post.

He eventually hobbled off in the final seconds of the fixture, which is not a good sight to see.

#4 – Eriksen’s horror show

Eriksen replaced Casemiro in midfield after the Brazilian was taken off due to a head collision in the second half, and his performance was nothing short of a nightmare.

Almost immediately, the Danish international gave away possession on multiple occasions to gift Fulham chances, and it was not long after he came on that the London-based outfit opened the scoring.

Eriksen is playing an increasingly small part at Old Trafford these days and is likely to be shipped off in the summer.

#5 – Champions League football a dream

Manchester United took a whole 70 minutes to kick into life at Old Trafford, with the side finally sparking into life once Fulham took the lead.

This eventually resulted in Maguire’s equalising finish, but it was to no avail, with United losing 2-1 in the dying moments.

Champions League football is now eight points away, and it feels a little like a dream more than a target.