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Fulham 1-2 Manchester United: A stunning strike by Paul Pogba sends Solskjaer's side back top

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Fulham 1-2 Manchester United: A stunning strike by Paul Pogba sends Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side back to the Premier League summit as Red Devils comes from behind to win at Craven CottageAdemola Lookman gave Fulham an early lead with a lovely finish into the corner past Utd keeper David De GeaBut Utd forward Edinson Cavani equalised from close range in the 21st minute after Alphonse Areola's errorYet it was Paul Pogba who again made the difference on the road as he won the game with a brilliant strikeThe Frenchman's curling effort with his left foot means United overtake Man City and Leicester at the topFulham, meanwhile, remain in the Premier League relegation zone after another narrow defeat at home 


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But can he do it on a wet Wednesday by the Thames, in one of London’s more exclusive boroughs? Apparently, he can.



In fact, we are running out of areas where Paul Pogba cannot do it this season. It may have been his club mates who put Manchester United in title contention while Pogba, and his agent, considered their options, but now back in the team and with the biggest prize at stake, he is inspired.



This is the player Jose Mourinho bought. One that decides matches, that accepts the physical challenge, that imposes his presence on inferior midfielders. Yes, flaws remain – he was asleep for Fulham’s goal – but Pogba was once again crucial to this United victory and, with it, their return to the top of the table.

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A stunning goal by Paul Pogba sealed all three points for Manchester United as they went back to the top of the league table

The Frenchman's curling effort with his left foot had too much accuracy for Alphonse Areola in goal for Fulham on Wednesday

Pogba was again the match-winner for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United side after his volleyed goal at Burnley last week 

Two other clubs had held in in the 24 hours prior to this match. Dark horses Leicester, and race favourites Manchester City – but Pogba’s brilliant second-half goal restored United and showed a team that are up for the fight, if that is what this season holds.

What a goal it was. A shot, yes, but what a shot – struck with power and precision from outside the area, a splendid marriage of beauty and beast, like the player himself. For when Pogba is on his game, as he was here, there is no-one in English football quite like him. Capable of the shot of the night (no mean feat with Bruno Fernandes in the team), the pass of the night (see previous parenthesis) and also of the fearsome scrapping that is an essential part of any midfielder’s skill set these days.

At one stage he played a sloppy pass which was intercepted by Ademola Lookman, who sped off towards goal. Pogba, once frequently accused of dereliction of duty, sped off in pursuit and clambered all over his opponent like an over-sized kid on a bouncy castle until the ball was retrieved. Lookman was furious, referee Martin Atkinson unmoved. Maybe, like the rest of us, that was exactly what he had been looking to see from Pogba for several years now.

Certainly, it makes all the difference to Manchester United who performed their usual trick of going behind away from home, and winning. This is the seventh time this season and theirs remains the only unbeaten away record in the league.

True it still required an excellent save from David De Gea to prevent a Ruben Loftus-Cheek equaliser after 75 minutes, but that is another feather in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s cap, given the calls for Dean Henderson to be promoted in his place earlier in the season. Solskjaer has stuck with De Gea, Pogba – and other stalwarts this season such as Luke Shaw – when many were counselling change. No matter who did the actual signing, this is very much his team.

As for Fulham, they fought well too, but without the talent at Solskjaer’s disposal. They are losing to good teams by small margins, which is no use right now, but at least offers hope for the future. If nothing else, United are demonstrating the worth of patience right now.

 

 

 

 

 

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