Manchester United and Fulham locked up at Old Trafford Aug. 25 with the Red Devils earning an early-season victory by a score of 3-2. This victory marked United's 10th straight home victory over Fulham.
Fulham would score first on the legs of Damien Duff in the very first minute of the match, but Man U would soon show what big-money spending can do for a team on the pitch.
The team would answer Fulham's goal with one by huge transfer-window acquisition Robin van Persie in the ninth minute and never looked back.
The Red Devils would control the pace of the match throughout the rest of the first half and into the second, with another two goals scored in the first 45 minutes of play.
Fulham would hold off their opponents for 25 minutes after RVP's goal, with United challenging them early and often. The Fulham defense ultimately couldn't hold off the Devils' attack, however, with Shinji Kagawa scoring in the 35th minute and Rafael adding to the score in 41st.
Kagawa's goal was what opened up the scoring gates, with Man U putting together two impressive offensive possessions before Rafael added goal No. 3 to his team's count.
Fulham's attack did show flashes of brilliance throughout the contest, even after losing the lead. The London-based club posted promising possessions in the 43rd minute that ended with a shot off the opposition's crossbar and in the 64th where the team's pressure led to an own goal by Man U's Nemanja Vidic.
Ultimately, Fulham would show signs of life after Vidic's own goal, but Man U buckled down and made sure the home fans witnessed a victory in the end.
Unfortunately, the victory did not come without bad news. Superstar Wayne Rooney suffered a huge gash in his leg due to inadvertent contact with one of Fulham's players.
Being one of the most popular sports clubs on the face of the earth has its advantages, and having Usain Bolt in attendance for this game can be added to that list.
The multiple-time Olympic gold medalist tweeted out the view from his seats at Old Trafford during the early minutes of the fixture:
Guess where I'm at? twitter.com/usainbolt/stat…— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 25, 2012
Old Trafford bound. Walsall's stadium on the M6 always good for some perspective.— Will Tidey (@willtidey) August 25, 2012
Fulham FC: C
Fulham looked impressive right out of the gate thanks to the possession that resulted in Duff's opening goal, but that feeling soon faded as the contest progressed.
The club looked stunned by RVP's goal, and while the newest Devil didn't have a huge impact on the contest other than that moment, his efforts rattled his opposition.
Fulham did pull out of that lull that began in the middle of the second half after Vidic's costly mistake, but could not make use of the gift given by the United defender. Despite being down just one goal for over 30 minutes in the second half, Fulham didn't put together any real threatening strikes to challenge the eventual victors.
Manchester United: B+
A couple of reasons behind the lack of an A-grade for United here. First being the team could have very well put five goals on the board in the first half, but due to a few minor mistakes, only three were attained in that time frame.
The second reason lies solely on the heel of Vidic that led to Fulham's second goal and a small fire being lit into the visitor's offense.
That being said, 11 of United's 17 shots were on target and only one offside was called against the team during this contest.
Rooney's injury, while uncontrollable in the end, is probably the worst news for United coming out of the game. Rooney was carted off the field and there has yet to be any word if he'll miss any future fixtures.
Overall, any win is a good win, but there were moments where United should have capitalized on Fulham's mistakes. Man U will hope to learn from some mistakes and hope Rooney's injury is not too serious despite how it looked on the pitch.