Manchester United made the best possible preparation for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League knockout rounds with a comfortable win against Fulham.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has now, remarkably, won more games in the Premier League than his predecessor José Mourinho had. The Norwegian is making all the right impressions at the club and has once again delighted the fans with his brand of football.
Fulham have been a major disappointment after an immense £100 million investment last summer, preparing them for life in the Premier League. Instead of competing for a mid-table position, they are languishing down in 19th place.
The Red Devils will be inspired for their next match, which takes place at Old Trafford on Tuesday against PSG.
Paul Pogba masterclass
Paul Pogba’s resurgence under Solskjær has been well documented and his performance at Craven Cottage was indicative of the newfound form he has been in.
Two goals this time out, the France international has been a pioneering figure in United’s turnaround and will be tasked with doing similar against PSG in the midweek Champions League fixture.
Pogba has a total effortlessness attributed to his game whereby he makes everything he does look so simple. The way he dribbles past players with his impressive strides, bustling defenders off his shoulders, and picks the right pass at the right time shows what a world-class player he can be.
His consistency over the past 10 games has been sensational – which includes two performances against Arsenal and Tottenham from the top six – and fans will hope that this continues heading into a period of important matches for Manchester United.
Anthony Martial’s dizzying footwork
After just penning a new contract until 2024, it didn’t take long for Anthony Martial to see his name on the scoresheet. Just after the 20th minute mark, the Frenchman had recorded an assist as well as his dizzying goal.
Martial picked the ball up inside his own half and channelled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo. Dribbling past Fulham’s defenders with absolute ease, the left winger turned them inside and out and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Sergio Rico in no time. Keeping his composure and cool in front of goal, Martial tucked it away in the far right-hand corner, leaving Rico with absolutely no chance of saving it.
The Frenchman now has nine Premier League goals in 20 appearances this season and will hope that he can add to his singular European goal on Tuesday night.
Ander Herrera controlled as ever
Solskjær has lifted every player’s performance since taking over in late December, but perhaps none more so than Ander Herrera. The Spain international used to be one of Mourinho’s trusted lieutenants on the pitch, but for one reason or another, the manager begun to ostracise him from the first-team.
Herrera, having now rekindled his magic, has been one of the Red Devils’ most important players. Winning virtually all his battles in midfield, he is not only giving Pogba the freedom to move up the pitch, he is also contributing himself to United’s attacks. Whether that is lurking around the edge of the box or quickly releasing the forward players, Herrera has been a pivotal cog in United’s wheel.
PSG will come to Old Trafford with a game plan that is based around Marco Verratti’s time on the ball to dictate proceedings. Herrera’s job, as it usually is, will be to disrupt the Parisian’s distribution and stop it at source. The Spaniard will follow the Italian around the pitch, practically man-marking him and making sure he is not awarded the time nor space to play his game.
It is paramount for Manchester United to tie Herrera down to a new contract given his heart, desire and quality he has shown for the club over the years.
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