Full-time - 90'
1 - 0
19:00 +00:00, March 26, 2012
Old Trafford, England
Referee: Michael Oliver
United escaped as Fulham should have had a penalty late on. They were far from their best, but the three points are in the bag and they have some breathing space at the top.
FT - Man Utd 1-0 Fulham. It wasn't the most convincing game, nailbiting at the end, but Rooney's goal is enough for United to go clear by three at the top.
Smalling comes across and clears a flick on. Riise pounds a throw into the box... and it's headed clear. That's it. Game over.
Ruiz wastes it as he fouls Evra. That could be it.
Free-kick out wide and there will be a chance to get the ball in the box. A host of Fulham players there, but it is cleared.
Young charges away and loses it. Fulham back in possession again. One last chance?
United smash the ball high up the field. Hernandez commits a foul though and Fulham escape.
Three minutes to go...
United may have got away with that, but now Evra is away. They are still looking to make the game safe.
Murphy was in space, what a ball through. Carrick was back there and gets across to nick the ball away. Did he touch it? Not sure he did, that probably should have been a penalty.
Young breaks but his cutback is well blocked by Kelly down the left. Giggs was the architect again as his ball was a good one.
Young loses out and Fulham try to break. Lots of bodies around but Dempsey has it and almost slices through the United midfield before a stray boot kicks it clear.
Fulham are still struggling to get hold of the ball. United are pouring on, but need to be careful as one mistake could be costly.
Hernandez again gets it and finds himself in the box. Hangeland just stands up and then takes it off the Mexican.
Hernandez is in acres of space and Hughes is there to block the cross.
Lots in the box and it deflects off Evans' head and away. Dembele does well to get clear, but slips on the ball and loses it.
Fulham rob United and Dempsey tries to get away. Scholes comes across and nicks his ankle, so they have another chance to swing a free-kick in.
De Gea has hurt his wrist, but United have no more subs, so will hope he is alright.
De Gea comes out to punch. He was under a lot of pressure and came through a crowd to clear.
Ruiz is bundled over as Fulham try to get away at the other end. Can Fulham pull it off?
Valencia runs at Riise and his back inside is half blocked. Hernandez tries to get his foot on it, but can't and Schwarzer claims.
United knocking it around without much urgency. They have the goal and Fulham need to press to get the ball back.
Hernandez spreads it wide to Valencia and his cross is at Evra, who lets it through his legs. Not sure what he was doing there.
SAF is obviously looking at consolidating the lead and Scholes slots into the centre.
Rooney off, Scholes on.
Fulham are committing players forward now and that could open things up at the back.
Pogrebnyak slides it to the open Ruiz, but his touch is very poor indeed and the danger clears for United.
Murphy pulling the strings and his ball over the top is left by Evans, but Dempsey almost gets a touch which would have put it in.
Murphy slides a great ball to Duff, but Evra was watching it well and comes across to cut it out.
Great moment for the Aussie keeper and he has kept his side in the game. 19 attempts so far; one goal.
Great double save from Schwarzer. Young hammers a volley, it is parried, then he also manages to block the rebound. It flies out to Giggs and his shot into an open goal from outside the box is blocked as well.
Interesting... Rio Ferdinand comes off, Smalling on.
Hughes intercepts as Hernandez and Rooney tried to link up. He's been Fulham's best player tonight.
Giggs and Rooney runs into a Fulham wall on the edge of the area. The more Valencia gets on the ball, the more United look like scoring.
Diarra off, Murphy on.
Fulham have had some say in the last few moments, but it's mostly backwards and Schwarzer clears again. He's had a lot of touches.
Rafael runs at the defence and spreads it to Rooney. He shoots, which is blocked. Valencia gets it and cuts inside, and it eventually comes out to Giggs who blasts it wide.
Even when Fulham break, there are no supporting players.
Rooney finds Young and he shapes to curl it, but easily blocked. United trying to make their way down the left flank now.
Frei coming off, Ruiz comes on.
Ruiz is waiting to come on, but Fulham can't get the ball out of play to make it happen.
Long clearance from Schwarzer, but Pogrebnyak is nowhere as he's defending so deep. How are they going to get back into the game like this?
Fulham now trying to put a pass or two together, but invariably it doesn't last very long.
That should add some more pace up front for United, but Fulham are thinking about a change as well.
Welbeck off, Hernandez on.
Unlike the first half, Fulham have no managed to take control back and are still chasing shadows. Great patience from United though.
Welbeck's touch has let him down and that could be the last action for him as Hernandez is ready to come on.
Valencia and Rafael are working very well together, but on the edge of the box it's all a bit too intricate. Fulham are back in numbers and stopping the passes.
Young on the overlap to Evra and Welbeck eventually controls it in the area. Hughes comes across and hacks it clear as Fulham survive.
Fulham showing they can still be dangerous. But they need more chances like that.
Dembele takes it and charges into the area, the United midfield let him go but Evans is there to put the block in.
That could have been one of the goals of the season as United showed patience, then sliced the defence open with their passing.
Lovely football, great passing and Young is six yards out with the goal at his mercy but Fulham close and block his effort.
Carrick sprays the ball across to Young and it's too easy for the United midfield. Long spell of possession and it doesn't look like ending.
Giggs fakes to shoot and almost slips Rafael in. The work down the United right is proving most effective.
Valencia bursts down the right again. He's been so dangerous and Fulham close ranks and force a corner.
Giggs with a great ball to Rafael, but it is cleared again. Rooney dropping deep and Giggs is controlling the pace of the game.
United in complete control and it's just like the first half. Young cuts inside and smashes the shot. Schwarzer palms it behind.
Riise wanted a foul from Rafael, but the ref didn't give it. Now United break again and the ball bounces across the box from Valencia to be cleared by Hangeland.
Pogrebnyak chests it down, but the Fulham passes are falling short and United are picking them off with ease.
Kelly dives in on Young and tries to get it back for Fulham. Poor tackle, but no booking.
United look like they mean business. Fulham are struggling to get in the game again, just like the first half.
Valencia again has it and the ball fizzes across the box with Hughes there to clear. It nearly flies in, but just wide.
Great ball over the top by Carrick and Valencia is through on goal. Good block from Schwarzer and it's behind for a corner.
Dempsey drifting out wide and trying to influence the game more.
Pogrebnyak was lurking and any mistake would have been very costly.
Great ball across the box already by Kelly and De Gea does very well to claim the ball and not let it spill out.
KICK-OFF: Fulham, in need of a goal, get us underway again...
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Wayne Rooney celebrates with Jonny Evans.
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Fergie's teamtalk won't be a walk in the park though. United have been sloppy and will need to buck up their ideas in the second as well.
United will be the happier as they have the goal, but Fulham need to do a lot more than just defend if they want to get away from the game with a point.
HT - Man Utd 1-0 Fulham. A very odd half in which United nicked a goal at the end. Before then, it was pretty even with large periods of possession for both sides.
Pogrebynak almost finds a way through as Dempsey's ball is half blocked. The rebound to Kelly is deflected wide.
Two mins of stoppage time.
Great ball from Rooney. Young is about 3 yards offside and he slots it home, but ref's whistle had gone.
Young with a great ball to Valencia, who cuts it across the box. It finds Kelly, who clears.
Frei loses the ball again. We may not see him again in the second half.
Schwarzer comes out and claims as the ball is swung in. Imagine that he will be busy again.
Now this is going to be a real struggle for Fulham. They have had some possession, but not enough to suggest they can get back into the game without conceding.
A goal has been coming and Fulham were their own worst enemies there. Poor defending and a lack of concentration when they should have got it away.
They cleared, but didn't get out quick enough. The ball came in again and Riise failed to get it away as Evans squared it for Rooney. He smashed it home.
GOAL Rooney scores after confusion in the box.
Evra hits the ball at Kelly, and the crowd scream for a handball. It would have been harsh if it had been given.
Valencia hammers the ball across the box... it misses everyone.
Ferdinand hares into the box but Welbeck fails to control and Fulham are away. They have not been fast on the counter though...
Giggs wanted a free-kick on the egde of the area, but nothing given. United back in control and Giggs is the one pulling the strings.
Evans with a shocking ball, but Dempsey gives it away almost immediately. It's been that kind of game.
No blood, so the game carries on quickly and United get the ball back.
Pogrebynak and Evans have clashed heads, so there is a brief stoppage.
Riise gets away down the left, but Evans does well to block the cross. The long throw finds Pogrebynak but his flick on is cleared.
No foul and United break. Welbeck takes it and has a shot from 30 yards which is week and poor. Schwarzer claims easily.
When Fulham get Dempsey and Dembele on the ball they look good; more needed as the half wears on.
Giggs with a sliding tackle that brings down Dembele.
Pogrebynak wins the foul. He has not come into the game much and is being isolated. He is working hard though, which is a good sign.
Valencia and Rafael combine very well down the right and the Brazilian is found inside the box. A left foot shot was weak and well saved by Schwarzer.
United are solidly back in control now. They need to make it count on the scoresheet though.
Coates did it for Liverpool, but Evra couldn't quite match it for United.
Lovely footwork from Giggs who eventually gets it across on the floor. The ball pops up and (of all the people) Evra has an overhead kick that bounces just wide.
Evra gets past his man, but the cross is very well blocked from Hughes. Acrobatic clearance.
The crowd are making some noise now as Valencia is coming into the game more. He's been the best attacking threat for United so far.
Schwarzer punches from off the head off Rooney. Valencia picks it up and runs into the box. A return pass with Welbeck is blocked and Fulham just about get it clear.
Fulham have closed ranks again and are dropping ever deeper. United seem to have the momentum once more.
Young curls it in. Hangeland heads clear from in front of his goalkeeper.
Young and Dembele are battling for the ball and ref eventually thinks it's a United a free-kick. Could have gone either way, but it's a dangerous position.
Hughes has been good tonight and he covers to knock the ball out for a corner while Welbeck was hovering.
Great ball from Giggs to Welbeck, but when Young gets it he drags it back and there is nobody there.
Encouraging stuff for Fulham though. They almost let United in right away, but it's been a good spell for them.
Frei cuts inside and Dempsey works himself an opening. A shot comes in and it's curling towards the corner, but De Gea flies across and holds onto it. Nice save.
Hangeland gets his foot on the ball as Rooney had a chance to release Welbeck. It flies through to Schwarzer and the chance is gone.
Carrick brings down Dempsey, who is not happy with the tackle on his ankle. No card though.
Hughes blocks a shot from Young at the last second, great stuff there! That could well have curled into the far corner.
Not a tough save, but Fulham are getting in behind the midfield. Groans from the United fans.
Dempsey takes the ball and turns, he is one-on-one with Evans and is forced wide before stinging the palms of De Gea.
Schwarzer is getting plenty of touches as Fulham keep knocking it back to him.
Giggs loses it and Dembele runs again. Frei has a chance to get away but he can't control the long ball.
United are now the ones struggling to get hold of the ball. Great ball for Pogrebynak from Diarra and Duff is causing Evra some issues down the right.
Dembele runs at Ferdinand and gets a shot off, but it swings miles wide. Not the best finisher.
Duff gets a weak cross in and it's cleared. Fulham putting some moves together, but they are being pushed back with too much ease.
Evans has stood up well against Pogrebynak's strength. Rooney takes the ball and releases Young, but his cross is claimed by Schwarzer.
Pogrebynak is finding little support, even when he does manage to get the ball under control.
Dempsey found himself with space on the edge of the box and Frei was free, but Rafael jumped in and stole the pass. A good chance wasted for Fulham.
First corner for Fulham. You would have got good odds on that. De Gea has to get it out from under his own bar - good from the young keeper.
Dembele has not had much luck so far and can't wriggle away from Young. Good run from Dempsey and Carrick slips as he tries to block. Corner.
Great little ball by Rooney, pops it through to Welbeck but Hughes dives in and blocks.
Frei has a chance to run at his man, but gives the ball away again. Martin Jol must be going mad on the touchline.
Dembele with a horror pass and Rooney picks it up and attacks. Very lazy from the Belgian. Rafael runs and crosses; Giggs heads, but Schwarzer saves easily.
Wasted again.. Fulham advance into the final third and then give the ball away. United are running the show at both ends.
Duff gets it, but runs out of room as Evra presses. They need to start stringing some passes together.
Rooney breaks and charges at the defence. Welbeck pulls away from his man, but the pass is played behind him.
Carrick feeds Evra, who cuts it back to Rooney on the egde of the area. His shot is blocked, but it's too easy for the hosts.
Rooney almost flicks it on to Welbeck, but Hughes reads it well and cuts it out. Riise clears, but there is no-one up the pitch to take control.
I think this is what they call 'parking the bus'. Striker Pogrebynak is defending inside his own half by about 10 yards...
Young is drifting inside and linking up well with Welbeck and Rooney. Lots of good movement and United enjoying a lot of possession.
United are pressing well to try and cause a mistake. Not sure Fulham have the calmness at the back you need to get out of that situation.
Frei gets his first touch and draws a foul from Rafael. Fulham can now pump it long... which they do.
Fulham are going to struggle if they play this deep for the whole game. They've hardly had a kick so far.
Schwarzer runs out to claim and Hangeland was doubtful again. Rooney closed in, but the keeper did well.
That was nervous and Welbeck almost nicked it off him. He got it back again in the area, but Diarra cleared well.
Fulham sitting nice and deep already. United knocking the ball around and Welbeck pounces to almost gets it off Hangeland.
KICK-OFF: United get us underway...
A final stat before we get underway: Wayne Rooney has netted five goals in his last four appearances against Fulham. Pogrebynak has scored five Prem goals from five shots on target.
The players are on their way onto the pitch, and we're almost ready to go...
Two players, for me, who will need to shine for Fulham are Mahamadou Diarra in defensive midfield and striker Pavel Pogrebnyak - the spine of the side.
Expecting Fulham to play 4-5-1 and do their best to hold off the attacks and then go on the counter. United look like 4-4-2 with Young and Valencia on the wings, and Rooney dropping off Welbeck.
It was 2003-04 that last saw Fulham win at OT (3-1), they would love a repeat as recent games have not been up to standard.
Even though there is a war of words brewing between United and City, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that he admires his rivals. Mind games, or genuine?
United are, of course, looking to get back onto the top of the league and can do so with a draw. Goals are key as well, as they sit four behind Man City on GD.
Bad omens for Fulham though: They lost 3-0 to Swansea last weekend and have managed just one victory at Old Trafford since 1959. They also have the joint worst top flight away record this season.
Only a third Premier League start for 18-year-old Fulham midfielder Kerim Frei; quite a place to prove yourself.
If you are so inclined, feel free to send me your comments on Twitter @joncarterespn
Fulham have: Stockdale, Ruiz, Murphy, Senderos, Etuhu, Briggs, Trotta.
If you are wondering who is on the bench, then for United it is: Amos, Jones, Berbatov, Smalling, Hernandez, Scholes, Cleverley.
Stat: Fulham have never won away from home in the Premier League on a Monday (D4 L9).
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, JA Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Diarra, Dempsey, Pogrebniak, Duff, Frei, Dembele.
Some early team news. Man Utd: De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Rafael, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia, Rooney, Young, Welbeck.
Some early news from Old Trafford: Fulham have sold just 320 tickets - the smallest away following at the stadium post 1992. The Cottagers faithful who did make it will need to shout extra loud.
He's getting on a bit, but Rio Ferdinand looks set for a new deal.
Fergie has started the mind games against City.
Join us at 2000 BST to see if Manchester United can return to the top of the Premier League against Fulham.