Paul Pogba’s moment of magic sends Manchester United top of the league
Premier League, Crave Cottage – Fulham 1 (Lookman 5’) Manchester United 2 (Cavani 21’, Pogba 65’)
Paul Pogba of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on January 20, 2021 in London, England.
A stunning winner from Paul Pogba helped Manchester United come from behind again to beat Fulham 2-1 on Wednesday and move back to the top of the Premier League.
Once again, United conceded first on the road this season, as Ademola Lookman was given all the time in the world to give his side a fifth-minute lead.
Seven times United have conceded first on the road in the Premier League this season, and seven times they have come back to win, with Edinson Cavani scoring a poacher’s goal in the 25th minute, before Pogba fired home a 25-yard thunderbolt to win it in the second half.
Manchester City had climbed back to the top of the table with victory over Aston Villa earlier on Wednesday evening but another away-day success sent United back above their noisy neighbours, while Fulham stay in the bottom three.
Edinson Cavani of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on January 20, 2021 in London, England
Image credit: Getty Images
What United do at the start of away Premier League games is anyone’s guess, as the defence stood there like statues, allowing Lookman in to fire home his third of the season.
The goal again shocked United into gear as Fernandes arrowed a strike against the post, before keeping the move alive, crossing for Cavani to steer the ball home. Fulham stopper Alphonse Areola will feel he could have done much better.
After the break, United were applying plenty of pressure but could not create a killer opening, meaning Pogba had to settle the contest with a sensational strike, with his weaker foot.
Fulham could easily have snatched a point from several late chances, but United held on, to take their unbeaten away run to 17 Premier League matches.
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TALKING POINT – Pogba finally making a difference
After four years of flattering to deceive, Paul Pogba is at long last showing what he can do.
Whether he has upped his game to impress potential suitors in the search of a summer move away from Old Trafford is up for debate, but either way, the last few weeks is the best Pogba has played in a United shirt.
Games like this could easily have passed United by. They were offering little as an attacking threat, and needed something special to turn one point into three. Step forward Pogba.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Edinson Cavani
How wrong we all were about Edinson Cavani. He has the energy of an 18-year-old, and the striker nous of a veteran. Another brilliant performance from a key member of this United squad.
5’ - GGGGOOOOOAAALLLLL!!!! Fulham 1-0 Man Utd. Or is it? United think Lookman is offside, but the flag stays down, and Lookman fires home his third of the season, This will go to VAR.
6’ - GOAL! It stands, after a very quick review. United stood like statues. It is not the first time United have fallen behind away from home this season...
21’ - GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Man Utd. Moments after Fernandes hits the post, Cavani pounces to level. Brilliant strike from Fernandes beats Areola and comes out off the post, but the Portuguese keeps it alive, hammers one into the centre, Areola can only palm it out to Cavani, who fires home his fifth of the season.
24’ - SAVE! That man Fernandes again, who arrows another strike for the bottom corner, but Areola springs across to make a fine save.
53’ - CHANCE! Loftus-Cheek does well to pick out Lookman, who drills for goal, but De Gea gets down to save. Lookman's strike was too close to the Spaniard.
65’ - GGGGGOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!!! Fulham 1-2 Man Utd. What a goal from Pogba! To even have the audacity to shoot from there is quite something, but what a strike with his left foot from Pogba, arrowing a beauty into the top corner.
68’ - SAVE! Brilliant movement from Cavani, but he cannot convert from close range as Areola makes a fine stop. That should have been game over!
74’ - SAVE! De Gea to the rescue for United as he saves well with his legs to deny Loftus-Cheek.
90+4’ - WIDE! My word! Header from Mitrovic comes of Bailly's thigh and rolls agonisingly wide. So close.
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Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 17 Premier League away games (W13 D4), equalling their longest ever unbeaten run on the road in top-flight history (17 between December 1998 and September 1999).
This was the 41st different game in which Fulham had led in all competitions under Scott Park, but the first time they had lost such a game (W34 D6).
No side has conceded more goals in the opening five minutes of Premier League games this season than Manchester United (4).
Edinson Cavani became the first Man Utd player whose first four Premier League goals for the club were all scored away from home.
Since his return to the club in 2016, no Man Utd player has scored more league goals from outside the box than Paul Pogba (6).
Ademola Lookman has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other Fulham player this season (6 – 3 goals, 3 assists).
Bruno Fernandes has gone three Premier League games without a goal or assist for the first time since his Manchester United debut in February 2020.