The Red Devils had an eventful outing, and had a strong French influence to it, with Paul Pogba opening the scoring with a tight goal. That was followed by a scintillating individual effort from Anthony Martial, who made it 2-0 in incredible fashion. The damage was furthered by Pogba once more in the second half, as he scored a penalty in his classic style.
Here are the talking points from the encounter:
1. Tony Martial Scores Again
Manchester United fans are in love with what Martial did to make it 2-0. The young Frenchman took it all upon himself right from the halfway line to embarrass the Fulham defense and score a beauty of a goal.
This was Martial’s first start since being handed over the five-year extension to his stay at Old Trafford, and performances like these are precisely why the former Monaco star has been entrusted with United for the long-term.
In fact, many fans even pointed out how the goal was similar to the one that Ronaldo scored against Fulham 12 years ago. Martial certainly seems to be set on a similar trajectory.
2. Pogba’s Heroics
Paul Pogba under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been a beast of a performer. With this brace, his Premier League tally stands at 11 goals scored (tied with none other than Sadio Mane), while he has also notched 8 assists. His figure of 1.8 shots on target per game is the best in the league, and is amongst the elite of Europe.
This has been a career-best tally for Pogba, and the season isn’t even over yet. It is mind-bending to consider the change that his campaign has undergone. Under Mourinho, he appeared to be a sub-par midfielder and struggled immensely. It took a United legend to remind Pogba why he is the next Mancunian legend in the making.
Further, with his tight finish for the opener, the Frenchman certainly ensured that the top-four race will be a tight one.
WATCH: Pogba’s Role Under Solskjaer – Tactics Explained
3. Top 4 After A Long-Time
This is the first time since opening day that Manchester United have sat in the top four. It goes on to highlight the cruel path that Mourinho’s final months took United upon, with the team bordering on the edge of irrelevance, and at one point, looking incapable of securing even Europa League football next season.
If the Manchester City–Chelsea clash goes in the favor of the reigning Premier League champions, United’s top four spot will be secure for another week, and judging by the energetic vigor of Solskjaer’s United, it may be set on staying that way until the end of this season.
4. Underrated Herrera
The Norwegian’s reign at United has been featured quite strongly with regard to the stark improvements he’s brought out in the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, and Victor Lindelof, who have all returned the favor through goals and clean sheets respectively.
However, the role of one player has been largely ignored, as it cannot be addressed in the usual statistics. Today’s game was yet another masterclass from Ander Herrera, as has been the case from weeks now.
His performance statistics of 57 passes and 9 ball recoveries was the best of any Manchester United player on the pitch. In addition to that, his passing under Solskjaer has been impeccable, and the Spaniard may just be the tactical X-factor that could make all the difference against PSG.
5. Perfect Prep For PSG
The midweek Champions League encounter against PSG just increased in hype. With the Fulham victory taking their unbeaten run of games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to 11, the French giants will now be looking to function as streak breakers.
Further, this game was a strategic point of rest for their top stars like Lingard, Rashford, and Lindelof, and the nature of the win will be a welcome addition.
The Norwegian has made a habit of winning, and Old Trafford will be rallying behind their lads on Thursday in an unprecedented fashion. With the attractive football that the Red Devils have been playing again, the two legs may certainly hold the precise form of entertainment and success that Solskjaer will need to secure the top gig on a full-time basis come summer.
Interestingly, with this victory, Solskjaer has secured 25 points for United in the league, just one shy of the 26 that Mourinho managed before being sacked.