Quick links

Manchester United

Five talking points from Manchester United's Craven Cottage win

Manchester United took another step towards Premier League glory with another three points at the weekend against Fulham.

Three points away from home is always a perfect result for a club, but when your main rivals drop two just 24 hours later, it seems even better.

United now enjoy an eight point lead in the title race, and the Premier League trophy is truly theirs to lose.

Looking back to United's 1-0 win at Craven Cottage, we run through five talking points for the Red Devils from the match-up; and the floodlight failure is not included...

1) Wayne Rooney is finding form at the right time

Wayne Rooney is renowned for scoring in spurts, and fans should embrace his matchwinning performances in the last two games and hope for more. His three goals against Southampton and Fulham have brought United six points, and should answer any questions as to his form, and role in the side with Van Persie out. With Madrid on the horizon, it's a sign their talisman is getting back to his best, and expect more goals in the coming weeks.

2) United's early year ruthlessness is echoing 2008-09

Most United fans will readily admit their side are not in scorching hot form, but they are churning out the results. They are like a ruthless machine, winning games while their rivals falter, and are building a lead they hope will be insurmountable. It's this New Year form which played such a crucial part in their 2008-09 title triumph, even when they stumbled in mid-March, their lead gave them the ability to get away with it.

3) Javier Hernandez is lucky to escape the hairdryer

United's win was a little frantic in the final minutes, talking of ruthlessness, the usually reliable Javier Hernandez was anything but. Chicharito was through on goal in injury time, only to fluff his lines and try to walk the ball round the goalkeeper and poke it in, when he should have shot earlier. His effort was cleared and Fulham went straight up the other end and won a free-kick in a dangerous area. Their last gap effort was wayward, and nobody would have been more relieved than the Mexican.

4) More of the same from David de Gea is needed

A man under the spotlight after a lot was made of his 'error' against Tottenham last month, but he produced a top performance on Saturday. He made four saves and claimed two crosses, and looked generally assured. There will be tougher tests, namely in the Champions League, and speculation over signing Asmir Begovic is mounting, but if the Spaniard keeps calm and produces more of the same then his ousting may not be quite so simple.

5) Antonio Valencia's form is a real concern

What United really need to hit top form is the Antonio Valencia of a year ago. Since taking the famous number seven shirt, he has failed to step up to the sensational level he produced last season, and the match against Fulham was a case in point. Even the frustrating Nani looked more dangerous, and it was no surprise to see him withdrawn for Javier Hernandez in the 66th minute.

What did you think of the win?

image: © Tom Cuppens

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch