Manchester Utd 1 Fulham 0
Manchester United 1 Fulham 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, March 26, 2012. Despite controlling possession for large parts of the game Manchester United could only defeat Fulham 1-0 at home. The inform Wayne Rooney scored the winning goal for United when the striker swept in a pull-back from defender Jonny Evans in the 42nd minute of play.
Manchester United were missing the playing services of Luis Nani for their Premiership clash against Fulham at Old Trafford on the last Monday of March 2012. The Portugal international had suffered a foot injury while training at Carrington, and the twenty-five-year-old flankman had been ruled out of first team action for the rest of the month. Also on the injury list were defenders Wes Brown and John O’Shea; midfielder Oliveira Anderson; and forward Michael Owen, but winger Antonio Valencia was back from a hamstring injury. The Craven Cottage club, for their part, were without defender Zdenek Grygera and midfielder Steve Sidwell, who were both sidelined with long-term injuries. Reigning Premier League Champions Manchester United had won eleven, drawn one, and lost two matches at their Old Trafford home so far in the 2011-12 season, while Fulham had won two, drawn five, and lost seven games on away ground. In the reverse meeting between Manchester United and Fulham at Craven Cottage on the 21st of December 2011, The Reds had outclassed The Whites 5–0 courtesy of a goal each from Danny Welbeck, Nani, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, and Dimitar Berbatov respectively, and Sir Alex Ferguson´s title chasers entered the fixture as massive favourites.
The West Londoners, who had not gained a single point at Old Trafford since a 3-1 Premiership victory on the 25th of October 2003, began the Monday encounter with high spirits and started the better early on, but as the match evolved, Manchester United became more comfortable in attack and the visitors relied heavily on Australian shot stopper Mark Schwarzer to make numerous saves. The men in red shirts went on to besiege the Fulham goal and the home side eventually broke the defensive deadlock when a cross from Three Lions international Ashley Young found central defender Jonny Evans who managed to turn the ball back for Rooney to hammer home from seven yards out three minutes before the sound of the half-time whistle. Manchester United controlled the possession of the ball for large parts of the second period, but the hosts were unable to add another goal to their lead. As for the Craven Cottagers, the visiting team rarely looked like getting anything from the game from the very moment Wayne Rooney opened the scoring account for United. After edging out Martin Jol´s Fulham by 1-0, Manchester United remained top of the Premier League table, three points in front of second placed Manchester City, and as much as fifteen points ahead of Arsenal in third spot. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael, Jonathan Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Antonio Valencia, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck. Substitutes: Ben Amos, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez. Fulham Team: Mark Schwarzer, Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise, Brede Hangeland, Stephen Kelly, Moussa Dembele, Mahamadou Diarra, Kerim Frei, Clint Dempsey, Damien Duff, Pavel Pogrebnyak. Substitutes: David Stockdale, Bryan Ruiz, Matthew Briggs, Philippe Senderos, Dickson Etuhu, Danny Murphy, Marcello Trotta.
Wayne Rooney Quickfacts
Wayne Rooney scored a respectable 34 goals in 43 first class appearances in all competitions for Manchester United during the 2011-12 campaign, including a hat-trick against West Ham United.