Fulham 0 Manchester Utd 5
Fulham 0 Manchester United 5, Craven Cottage, English Premier League, December 21, 2011. Fulham never really stood a chance against a highly efficient Manchester United team brimming with confidence and self-belief. United ultimately ran out comfortable and convincing 5-0 winners thanks to goals from Danny Welbeck, Luis Nani, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, and Dimitar Berbatov respectively.
Defending Premiership Champions Manchester United made their second visit to West London in the space of just four days as they encountered Fulham at Craven Cottage in a Premier League midweek meeting shortly before Christmas 2011. Manchester United had beaten recently promoted Queens Park Rangers by a 2–0 score at Shepherd´s Bush in their previous Premiership fixture through goals from Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, whereas Fulham had defeated Bolton Wanderers by the exact same margin at Craven Cottage with Clint Dempsey and Bryan Ruiz netting one goal apiece for the hosts. Managed by former Tottenham Hotspur, Hamburg, and Ajax boss Martin Jol, Fulham had only managed to score 18 goals in 16 Premiership fixtures thus far in the 2011-12 season, while Sir Alex Ferguson´s United had found the back of the net in each of their 16 matches in the Premier League. The Cottagers, whose last home victory against Manchester United had come on the 19th of December 2009 when they beat The Reds 3-0 courtesy of a goal each by Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora, and Damien Duff respectively, never had a chance against a coherent and confident Old Trafford team which eventually ran out 5-0 winners in the end. Danny Welbeck handed Manchester United an early lead following five minutes of play with an effort from six yards after receiving a low cross from Portugal international Luis Nani and the visitors had their second goal in the 27th minute as Ryan Giggs crossed for the Portuguese speed merchant who steered a powerful header past Fulham custodian David Stockdale and into the net. And only two minutes before the sound of the half-time whistle, the omnipresent Iberian winger found Giggs who gave United a 3-0 cushion with a looping shot over the home goalkeeper.
After being booed off the pitch by their own supporters at the half-time interval, the West Londoners answered with a strong and offensive opening to the second period and Dempsey forced Manchester United goaltender Anders Lindegaard into a superb save shortly following the resumption of action. Fulham continued to search for a goal and Moussa Dembele and John Arne Riise both came close to reducing the deficit for the white shirts as the half progressed. But with the clock ticking down, Manchester United stretched their advantage even further when Rooney, who was making his 300th Premiership appearance, sent an unstoppable long distance drive fizzing into the back of the net off the right-hand upright with three minutes left on referee Mark Halsey´s watch, giving the increasingly overworked Stockdale no chance to save, while Bulgarian marksman Dimitar Berbatov finally rounded off the scoring spree with a delightful back-heel goal in the 90th minute of the one-sided affair. Unfortunately for Manchester United, though, summer signings Phil Jones and Ashley Young both picked up their respective injuries during the Wednesday encounter at the Dickensian Craven Cottage on the banks of the River Thames. Anyways, after overcoming Fulham by 5-0 away Manchester United would go into Christmas just two points adrift of table-topping neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League title race. Fulham Team: David Stockdale, John Arne Riise, Chris Baird, Brede Hangeland, Philippe Senderos, Dickson Etuhu, Danny Murphy, Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey, Bryan Ruiz, Andrew Johnson. Substitutes: Aaron Hughes, Stephen Kelly, Marcel Gecov, Kerim Frei, Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora, Neil Etheridge. Manchester United Team: Anders Lindegaard, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonathan Evans, Patrice Evra, Luis Nani, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck. Substitutes: Ezekiel Fryers, Ashley Young, Rafael da Silva, Dimitar Berbatov, Ji-Sung Park, Javier Hernandez, David de Gea.
Luis Nani Quickfacts
Luis Nani accumulated seven goals in 27 Portuguese Primeira Division appearances for former team Sporting Clube de Portugal in a highly successful loan period in the 2014-15 campaign.