Opta Evaluation

Monday 28 January 2013 15:42

Fulham’s FA Cup with Budweiser ambitions were put on ice for another year as Manchester United defeated the Whites 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

As was the case during our last trip to Manchester a week previous, Fulham enjoyed plenty of the ball, but failed to show a cutting edge in the final third. We all but matched United for possession, with the hosts enjoying 50.7 per cent of the ball to our 49.3.

The passing statistics reflected well on Fulham, too. We attempted just seven passes less than the Reds, although we were more successful when it came to finding teammates. The Whites had a pass accuracy of 86.2 per cent compared to United’s 83.4.

But the fact of the matter is that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side used the ball more effectively, as was demonstrated by their 19 shots (10 on target) to our nine – and Aaron Hughes’ header was the only one that found the target.

Not for the first time this season, Sascha Riether was the busiest player on the pitch. Our right-back was involved in 85 ball events, although another full-back – Patrice Evra – ran him close with 80.

Riether has been a pillar of consistency for Fulham during his first season in England and he came within inches of grabbing his first goal on Saturday when he drilled wide with a shot from range. He also whipped in four crosses and was solid in defence – getting three tackles in during the game.