Dec 21 2011 By Yann Tear
Fulham 0-5 Manchester United
FULHAM fared even worse than their rivals from Shepherds Bush in tring to cope with champions Manchester United - falling to their biggest ever home defeat in the Premier League.
The match turned out to be even more of a stroll for the visitors than Sunday's visit to Loftus Road and while the Whites may have enjoyed great underdog days against Sir Alex Ferguson's men in the past three seasons, there was never a sniff of a repeat.
They hardly laid a glove on the visitors during an embarrassingly one-sided first half, with United camped in the Fulham half for most of the time and ghosting past players, largely unhindered.
It was almost as if we had all come to witness a glorified training session.
When Andrew Johnson got in a harmless shot on target at the end of the first half, there were ironic cheers from the home fans. Their side was already 3-0 down.
It was dispiriting in the extreme for the Fulham faithful, whose sense of foreboding can't have been helped by the ongoing disenchantment between Martin Jol and Bobby Zamora that saw the latter only on the bench once more.
Just as QPR had been rocked back on their heels before they had got a toehold in their match against United on Sunday, so Fulham succumbed in the first real attack from the champions.
It was all too easy after Nani had burst down the left flank, leaving Bryan Ruiz trailing in his wake. A low cross was met by Danny Welbeck six yards out and a simple sidefoot beat David Stockdale.
The goal instantly threatened to rob the occasion of any tension, given that a one goal handicap against the team with the best away record around was the last thing Jol's men needed.
The mountain to climb assumed biblical proportions once Nani's glancing header from a Ryan Giggs cross had made it 2-0 after 28 minutes – the goal coming from a corner kick routine.
Even the early departure of Phil Jones failed to disrupt United and the midfielder/defender even had time to thwart Ruiz with a great tackle in Fulham's most threatening moment before leaving with a head injury picked up in an earlier clash with Dempsey.
Nani toyed with Fulham all evening, and having scored one and laid on the first, he again provided an assist for Giggs to score with a shot on 43 minutes that looped off Philippe Senderos and over a stranded Stockdale.
It would have been impossible for Fulham to sustain such ineptitude and they showed some signs of life after the break, with Dempsey directing a header at keeper Anders Lindegaard and Moussa Dembele and John Arne Riise firing just wide in a busy spell around the hour mark.
But the face-saving exercise had only modest success, with United happy to sit back, conserve energy and wait for counter-attacking opportunities.
A game meandering to its conclusion was given a late bit of icing by Wayne Rooney a couple of minutes from time - powering in from distance - then sub Dimitar Berbatov cheekily back-heeled the fifth from an Antonio Valencia cross.
It hardly needed those embellishment to underline Manchester's crushing superiority - or Fulham's woeful inadequacies.
Line-up: Stockdale; Baird (Kelly 74), Hangeland, Senderos, Riise; Ruiz, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey (Zamora 85); Johnson, Dembele. Subs not used: Etheridge, Gecov, Duff, Hughes, Frei.