Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Fulham will have undoubtedly frustrated Manchester United fans after the Red Devils twice took the lead and missed a crucial penalty to all but wrap up the three points.
However, Fulham matched United in an end-to-end encounter that provided great entertainment for your average football fan, but not for your average Manchester United fan.
The game had all the hallmarks of a day to remember as in-form Paul Scholes bagged his 150th goal for United after just 11 minutes, but as that second goal needed to settle the players loomed the game began to look a little uneasy for United.
A Simon Davies equaliser sparked United into life, and luck started to shine on the Red Devils for the Hangeland own goal that came from Nani’s corner.
A harshly awarded penalty for Damien Duff’s handball inside the area seemed to secure the points for United, but the game turned once David Stockdale saved magnificently from the spot and the Craven Cottage faithful got behind their team.
A win for United, although gratefully appreciated, would have flattered the performance and a draw was probably the best result for both teams.
The point from Craven Cottage is a positive result in the sense that it was a point more than we could manage in the last two years, and nobody under-estimated Fulham going into the game. The Cottagers could easily provide other Premier League title challengers with such resistance in later stages of the season.
By no means will United panic. Chelsea find themselves sitting on top of the Premier League, two points clear of everybody with an impressive +12 goal difference.
But let’s cast our minds back to United’s first three games of the season during the 2007-2008 campaign: drew 0-0 with Reading, drew 1-1 with Portsmouth and a 1-0 defeat to rivals Manchester City.
You could be forgiven for panicking and knee-jerk reacting to two points from three games, but let's not forget what was achieved by the end of the season. The Premier League table won’t begin to take shape until October-November, so there is little point in examining it just yet.
The point earned at Craven Cottage could well be the difference by May next year, so lets not rue the loss of two points but celebrate the hard fought one.
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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