Manchester United grabs last-gasp win at Fulham thanks to Garnacho

LONDON — Manchester United snatched a late win at Fulham as teenager Alejandro Garnacho was the stoppage time hero down by the misty banks of the River Thames.

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Christian Eriksen gave United a first half lead but Dan James jumped off the bench and looked to have grabbed Fulham a deserved equalizer, however Alejandro Garnacho won it with virtually the last kick of the game.

In truth, Manchester United never got going and they missed Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Antony and Jadon Sancho, but their rising teenage star stole the headlines for Erik ten Hag’s side.

United are solid in fifth place as they are three points off the top four and have a game in-hand on Tottenham and Newcastle above them. Fulham remain on 19 points after a gut-wrenching defeat in stoppage time for the second week in a row against a Manchester team.

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What we learned from Fulham vs Manchester United

Quality of Eriksen, Casemiro makes the difference: There was one pass Casemiro made in the first half which never looked on. Nobody else inside Craven Cottage saw it but somehow he sliced through a crowded midfield with ease, taking out four Fulham players with one pass. The Brazilian is so much more than a destroyer and his classy displays alongside Eriksen have added control and poise to United. The summer arrivals have made a massive difference to this team and Eriksen grabbing his first goal as a Red Devil showed he still has the ability to pop up in the right place in attacking areas as well as excel in his new deeper role. With United playing a fluid front four, you need a stable and solid platform behind them and Casemiro and Eriksen supply that. The balance of this United side is so much better when they’re in midfield together and their intelligence and experience on the ball is exactly why Erik ten Hag signed them. When Scott McTominay came on in the second half to play alongside Casemiro and Eriksen was pushed higher up the pitch, everything fell apart for United. There’s no coincidence that happened when the Casemiro and Eriksen duo was broken up but Eriksen still had the class to win it as his brilliant assist fed Garnacho to win it.

Mitrovic’s absence leaves a hole but Fulham find a way: Everything was pretty good from Fulham. In fact, had their final pass, cross or finish been better, they could have won this quite easily. So much of their attacking play usually relies on Aleksandar Mitrovic and the entire team is understandably set up to make the most of his very specific strengths. With Mitrovic missing through injury, Carlos Vinicius is a good young striker and went close to scoring early in the second half but there is a huge drop off between him and the Serbian star. The Cottagers are a fine team under Marco Silva and Joao Palhinha, Willian and Bernd Leno have all been excellent additions. They should be very comfortable in midtable and their fine start to life back in the Premier League has been a pleasant surprise, especially with Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson flying the flag for Fulhamerica proudly and having great campaigns so far.

Alejandro Garnacho is a star in the making: His goal summed up his class and at 18 years of age, he’s making a huge impact. A goal against Real Sociedad in the Europa League and fine assist in midweek against Aston Villa in the League Cup summed up his class. Garnacho is a special player and if United can nurture him, he could be a star of the future. He will be wrapped in cotton wool by United but Erik ten Hag knows a thing or two about developing young stars. Garnacho has real quality and will get the chance to be eased in with so many other great attacking players around.

Tactical focus

United’s 4-2-3-1 was fluid and direct when they won the ball back high up the pitch or played long and direct. They did the latter often to try and play over Fulham’s high-press. That press caused problems early on but then United realized they better bypass that. United look so much better when they have four fluid players in attack but Erik ten Hag side was hampered by key absentees and Fulham made the most of it as they got crosses into the box and peppered United’s goal in the second half. United still had the extra quality to win it.

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Stars of the show

Christian Eriksen: Scored the first, set up the late winner and oozed class throughout. He is so assured and alongside Casemiro brings so much poise and control.

Joao Palhinha: What a signing he’s been. Rattled into tackles, led Fulham’s press and uses the ball well when he has it. Off to the World Cup with Portugal too.

David de Gea: Made a string of saves in each half, including brilliant stops to deny Vinicius and Ream at the start of the second half.

Antonee Robinson: Brilliant down Fulham’s left flank and the USMNT star played a key part in their opener. He never stops offering an attacking outlet on the left.

What’s next?

Fulham head to Crystal Palace on Dec. 26, while Manchester United host Burnley in the League Cup on the week commencing Dec. 19 and are next in Premier League action when they host Nottingham Forest on Dec. 27.

How to watch Fulham vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Fulham vs Manchester United live analysis! – By Joe Prince-Wright at Craven Cottage

He’s done it! Garnacho wins it with basically the last kick of the game! Incredible scenes here. Wow.

15 minutes to go. This is very evenly poised. Fulham having a go, while United just haven’t got going in the second half.

What an atmosphere here! Fulham going for it now. United are all over the place. Also, great work from Antonee Robinson to set up that Fulham attack and grab the ball off Bruno Fernandes before former United winger Dan James scored.

David de Gea keeping United ahead here. Two great stops. DDG is looking forward to a long break as he isn’t in Spain’s World Cup squad.

SAVE! Carlos Vinicius controls and slams a low shot which David de Gea saves. Much better from the young Brazilian striker. Then moments later Tim Ream heads on goal but De Gea pushes it over.

Second half is underway here at the Cottage! No changes for either team. 45 minutes of Premier League action to before the World Cup break arrives. Drink it in. Every single second of it. Then we rest until December 26.

HALF TIME: Fulham 0-1 Manchester United – Eriksen’s first United goal has them ahead at the break and he almost had another right on half time. United have had some great chances but Fulham have been good, aside from the final cross or finish.

Joao Palhinha rattles into a lunging tackle on Elanga and gets it just right. What a season he’s having. And what a signing he’s been for Fulham. The hosts have recovered well after that United goal.

The class of Casemiro and Eriksen shone through there, so too did the vision Erik ten Hag has for United. Winning the ball back high up the pitch, springing into life with fluid movement and passing and then a tidy finish.

GOALLL! Christian Eriksen slots home at the back post. Manchester United lead at Fulham after a very open first 14 minutes. Casemiro wins it back in midfield then Eriksen, Martial, Fernandes all involved as Eriksen slots home. Slick United goal and that is Eriksen’s first for United. He really is clicking through the gears as he heads to the World Cup with Denmark. What a story.

SAVE! Bernd Leno stretches to tip Antony Martial’s shot wide. Good direct play from United down their left. Diop was caught stretching.

Fulham have started really well, particularly Antonee Robinson down the left. He feeds Willian who found Vinicius and his low shot was deflected and kicked away by David de Gea. United have yet to get going.

KICK OFF: We are underway here at the Cottage. This feels like a free hit for the home side. All season long they’ve exceeded expectations. Can they do it again, this time without Mitrovic?

We will of course have a close eye on USMNT duo Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson here today. Both were named in Gregg Berhalter’s squad for the World Cup and Robinson is sure to start, while Ream is in the running to start at center back. In my humble opinion, Ream should definitely start.

Teams are out warming up and Song 2 by Blur is belting out. Again, does it get much better than this!? Kick off is fast approaching here in west London.

Intriguing team news here as Ronaldo is missing through illness, Dalot is suspended so Malacia starts out of position at right back for United. Elanga also comes into the team. With Mitrovic missing for Fulham, Vinicius starts up top and Cairney comes in to midfield. The USMNT players both start as Ream is at center back and Robinson at left back.

Welcome to Craven Cottage on a lovely autumnal day down by the banks of the River Thames. Historic stadium, lovely views and stunning weather. Does it get much better than this? I don’t think so. I feel very lucky to be here at this historic stadium to witness the final Premier League game before a six-week break for the World Cup.

Key storylines

Fulham are having a great time back in the big time and Aleksandar Mitrovic is finally scoring goals at this level but his recent injury is a concern for the Cottagers. Mitrovic’s injury is a big part of their success but so too is good recruitment this summer. Bernd Leno, Issa Diop, Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira and Willian have all made a big difference and Silva’s side are robust but also very dangerous on the counter. As for United, they are probably right where we thought would be under new manager Erik ten Hag. After a slow start the fact they are within touching distance of the top four ahead of the break is a good achievement. ETH will be hoping that this defeat at Villa last weekend was nothing more than a blip.

In-form players to keep an eye on

Fulham spine has been crucial to their great start to the season with Mitrovic, Palhinha and Leno all superb, while Diop has slotted in well and Willian has been a real spark in attack. However, Mitrovic may not feature so Carlos Vinicius has to stand tall. USMNT duo Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson have also had very good campaigns so far. As for United, Casemiro has been bossing it in midfield, while Luke Shaw scored at Villa last time out and has been more solid and Diogo Dalot has been excellent at right back. Marcus Rashford has also looked much better but he’s suspended for this clash.

Fulham team news, injuries, lineup

Harrison Reed and Kenny Tete are both suspended, which is a blow but Bobby De Cordova-Reid is back which is a boost. Manor Solomon and Neeskens Kebano remain out, while Aleksandar Mitrovic is nursing an ankle issue and will not be risked with the World Cup coming up. Vinicius Jr starts up top.

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup

Diogo Dalot is suspended, Raphael Varane is recovering from his knee issue and both Antony and Jadon Sancho are missing with Cristiano Ronaldo out due to illness. All of that means Anthony Martial, Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford start in attack, while Tyrell Malacia starts at right back to cover for Dalot’s absence.

Manchester United grabs last-gasp win at Fulham thanks to Garnacho originally appeared on NBCSports.com