Sunday 20 August 2006, 1:30pm at Old Trafford, Manchester
Barclays Premier League
Manchester United
Manchester United
5
Saha 7'; o.g. Pearce 15'; Rooney 16', 64'; Ronaldo 19'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Helguson 40'
The opening game of the 2006/2007 didn't go to plan for Fulham at Old Trafford, where Manchester United won 5-1.

7' Goal

Louis Saha

15' Own-goal

Ian Pearce

16' Goal

Wayne Rooney

19' Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo

64' Goal

Wayne Rooney

51' Yellow Card

Ryan Giggs Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mikael Silvestre
Off:Gary Neville

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Park Ji-Sung
Off:Ryan Giggs

61' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Off:Louis Saha

40' Goal

Heidar Helguson

50' Yellow Card

Michael Brown Card was given for a foul

61' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Tomasz Radzinski
Off:Michael Brown

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Collins John

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

After a successful pre-season campaign and the addition of four summer signings, Chris Coleman’s side travelled to Old Trafford to face Manchester United for their opening 2006/07 Premiership fixture.

The Whites starting eleven featured Coleman’s latest signing Franck Queudrue, playing alongside Phillippe Christanval, Ian Pearce and Liam Rosenior at the back, in front of goalkeeper, Antti Niemi.

Fulham’s midfield comprised of new boy Jimmy Bullard, playing alongside Papa Bouba Diop in the middle of the park, flanked by Captain Luis Boa Morte on the left and Michael Brown on the right. Coleman opted for Heidar Helguson and Collins John upfront, whilst McBride had to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench.

Manchester United, without £18 million summer signing Michael Carrick (injured) and the recently departed Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), fielded an all-star team featuring Fulham old boys, Edwin van der Sar and Louis Saha.

United kicked-off in front of a record Premiership attendance of 75,115 and the home side dominated possession in the opening stages of the game.

Bouba Diop showed some early promise for Fulham with good some work from the middle of the park and his early shot on goal was Fulham’s best chance in the opening minutes, but Edwin van der Sar comfortably saved.

United took the lead after only 7 minutes when Ryan Giggs raced down the left flank before crossing to the centre. It was Fulham old boy Luis Saha who met the cross and the Frenchman sent his header downwards past Niemi into the Fulham net.

With Paul Scholes collecting from deep and driving United forward, the home side were beginning to dominate proceedings. Fulham’s opportunities in the first half were limited and their best chance came from Jimmy Bullard’s 25 yard free kick which found the target but was easily gathered by Van der Sar.

United extended their lead to 2-0 after 13 minutes when Rooney's neat exchange with Ronaldo found Saha on the left flank. Rooney stretched to meet the Frenchman’s cross but it was Ian Pearce who deflected the ball past Niemi and into Fulham’s net.

It was only a matter of minutes before United made it 3-0. Louis Saha’s close range far post effort was well saved by Niemi but Wayne Rooney was first to the keeper’s parry and made it 3-0 from 8 yards out.

Rooney and Ronaldo posed a constant threat to Fulham in the first half and they linked up once again after 18 minutes to make it 4-0 when Rooney forced his way down Fulham’s right flank. His perfectly measured cross was met by Ronaldo who swept his right foot finish past Niemi. It was United’s fourth goal in the space of 12 minutes.

After 27 minutes Rooney, Ronaldo and Giggs once again linked up to set up Scholes, playing in his first game since December 2005, and the midfielder launched a 25 yard screamer which rebounded of the post before bouncing of Niemi and trickled towards Fulham’s net. The Fulham keeper reacted first and gathered the ball before United could capitalise on the danger.

Fulham pulled a goal back after 34 minutes when Bullard raced down the right wing before cutting back inside and picking out Helguson, whose deflected shot off Rio Ferdinand sent Edwin van der Saar the wrong way and Fulham claimed a goal back before half time.

Fulham started the second half with an unchanged side whilst Silvestre replaced Gary Neville for United.

After a quiet start Michael Brown’s 50th minute challenge on Ryan Giggs resulted in a yellow card for Fulham’s midfield man, and two minutes later Giggs repaid the compliment and the Welshman was also booked by referee Andre Marriner.

A good run from Franck Queudrue down Fulham’s left flank after 52 minutes resulted in a free kick on the edge of United’s box, but Jimmy Bullard’s in swinging free kick sailed past van der Sar’s far post.

Fulham began to enjoy more possession in the second half, playing with more energy and purpose but United’s attacking trio of Rooney, Ronaldo and Saha remained a constant threat.

After 61 minutes both sides made changes with United making a double substitution, introducing Ji-Sung Park and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for Giggs and Saha respectively.

Chris Coleman’s followed suit, introducing Tomasz Radzinski for Michael Brown on Fulham’s right hand side.

After 64 minutes Rooney grabbed his second goal of the game after Wes Brown raced down the right hand side before pulling the ball back to Rooney from the by-line. Rooney’s clinical finish from 12 yards out stretched United’s lead to 5-1.

Chris Coleman immediately made a further substitution, replacing Collins John with Brian McBride up front but United continued to dominate proceedings and Ronaldo almost made it six after 71 minutes when his shot whisked past the post after a one-on-one with Antti Niemi.

Fulham created few chances in the final twenty minutes whilst United continued to threaten.

Fulham’s final chance of the match came in the 88 minute when Bouba Diop was fouled 25 yards from goal. Jimmy Bullard’s 25 yard free kick was comfortably saved by former Whites keeper Edwin van der Saar. After 3 minutes of injury time referee Andre Marriner blew the final whistle and United celebrated a comprehensive victory.

Fulham face Bolton on Wednesday evening and Chris Coleman’s will be looking for his side to renew last season’s home form after a tough start to the 2006/07 season. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 20 August 2006
Kick-off: 1:30pm

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 75,115

Referee: Andre Marriner

Manchester United

Line-up: Van der Sar; Neville (Silvestre 46'), Ferdinand, Brown, Evra; Ronaldo, Scholes, O'Shea, Giggs (Park Ji-Sung 60'); Saha (Solskjaer 61'), Rooney

Unused substitutes: Kuszczak, Fletcher

Fulham

Line-up: Niemi; Rosenior, Pearce, Christanval, Queudrue; Bullard, Diop, Brown (Radzinski 61'), Boa Morte; John (McBride 64'), Helguson

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Volz, Bocanegra

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 1 3
2 Portsmouth 1 3
3 West Ham United 1 3
4 Bolton Wanderers 1 3
5 Reading 1 3
6 Everton 1 3
7 Newcastle United 1 3
8 Arsenal 1 1
9 Aston Villa 1 1
10 Liverpool 1 1
11 Sheffield United 1 1
12 Chelsea 0 0
13 Manchester City 0 0
14 Middlesbrough 1 0
15 Watford 1 0
16 Wigan Athletic 1 0
17 Charlton Athletic 1 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 1 0
19 Blackburn Rovers 1 0
20 Fulham 1 0
Manchester United (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Gary Neville
  • 5Rio Ferdinand
  • 6Wes Brown
  • 3Patrice Evra
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 22Paul Scholes
  • 22John O'Shea
  • 11Ryan Giggs
  • 9Louis Saha
  • 10Wayne Rooney
Substitutes
  • 29Tomasz Kuszczak
  • 27Mikael Silvestre
  • 13Park Ji-Sung
  • 24Darren Fletcher
  • 20Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 7Liam Rosenior
  • 19Ian Pearce
  • 5Philippe Christanval
  • 4Franck Queudrue
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 8Michael Brown
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 15Collins John
  • 9Heidar Helguson
Substitutes
  • 1Mark Crossley
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 20Brian McBride