Manchester United once again dropped points at home, this time against bottom of the table club Fulham as Darren Bent scores a late equalizer.
With this draw Manchester United are now nine points behind Liverpool, who are currently occupying the fourth spot in the table. David Moyes’ men also missed an opportunity to close down their gap with Everton who lost at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. This result continues their awful home record this season and they have now won only six of their 13 matches at Old Trafford in the league so far. Currently it looks unlikely that they will even qualify for the Europa League if they maintain this form. Meanwhile, this was a great result for Fulham and René Meulensteen will hope that this can turn around their season and they can build on this performance.
Meulensteen went in with a much changed line-up against his former side as he left out a lot of experienced players on the bench. Youngsters like Ryan Tunnicliffe and Muamer Tankovic featured in the side as Scott Parker, Damien Duff and Darren Bent dropped down to the bench. Despite all their early dominance it was Fulham who took the lead in this game as Steve Sidwell scored from a wonderful cross by Lewis Holtby. United were shocked and Fulham’s tactics after taking that lead was clear – drop deep and defend. In fact United’s tactics was similarly one dimensional as well. The home side bombarded the Fulham penalty box with crosses, but failed to make anything out of those balls.
Even in the second half the trend continued as United failed to break down a resolute Fulham defence. David Moyes ringed in the changes as Valencia, Hernandez and Januzaj were brought onto the pitch and eventually that produced a goal. The home side scored two goals in matter of two amazing minutes and took the lead. The equalizer came from Robin van Persie, while the second was deflected long range shot from Michael Carrick. It seemed like United will go on to secure all three points at that moment of the game as Fulham didn’t really offer anything going forward in the second half. But René Meulensteen’s side did to Manchester United, what the Red Devils have done to a lot of sides in the past – score a late equalizer in stoppage time. Darren Bent, who came on as a substitute at the start of the second half, headed in the goal from close range from a rebound after David De Gea saved Kieran Richardson’s initial shot. It was a hammer blow for Manchester United, something which is becoming a regular event rather than a surprise.
David Moyes felt his side deserved more out of this game but insisted that United lacked the finishing touch in the final third.
“We should have won it but lapses cost us. We probably had to defend three or four times in the whole game, but that happens sometimes in football.
“We tried everything to try and win – we crossed it, passed it, tried to get through – but we just didn’t quite have the finishing touches.
“I think if we had got a goal early on then it would have completely altered the game. As it was, the more we went to score, they had a couple of chances and one of them they scored from. But I hardly felt as if they were on the park today.
“It has been quite often here at Old Trafford when we haven’t got the goal, we have then maybe lost a goal and ended up chasing the game. We did it today.
“If we hadn’t got back into the game then there would have been something up because we totally deserved it. We deserved to win the game, but you don’t always get what you deserve.” – The Manchester United manager said.