Tom Victor: How Moyes’ United bored their way to 81 crosses v Fulham

The last time Fulham went to Old Trafford was the day faith in The Chosen One dried up, with Moyesy's United career nailed down by 81 crosses...

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As Manchester United prepare to take on Fulham at the weekend, attention may well turn to the last time the two teams met in the Premier League.

Back in 2014, when David Moyes and Rene Meulensteen sat in opposing dugouts, United missed a chance to close the gap to the top four when Darren Bent popped up with a stoppage-time equaliser for the bottom-of-the-table visitors.

However, the one thing people took away from the game – more than the equaliser, more than Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick help take United from 1-0 down to 2-1 up, more than the return of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole to Old Trafford – was United’s tally of 81 crosses.

It might be impossible to know what was going through fans’ minds as ball after ball was headed away by Dan Burn and Johnny Heitinga, but we’ve given it a good go:

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Cross 1 – That’s the stuff. Get to the byline early and… almost had them there, more of the same

2 – Not great, Patrice, but that’s okay. Bit more lift on the next one and we’ll have them where we want them

3 – Corner, good work, keep it going, lads

4-6 – You’ve got to hand it to them, that’s some great defending. There’s no way they’re keeping that up for another 84 minutes

Football – Manchester United v Fulham – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 13/14 – 9/2/14
Antonio Valencia – Manchester United
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7-8 – Slow it down, lads. No need to be pinging it in from there – maybe take a couple more touches

9-11 – you’re forcing a giant to stretch then you’re almost there on the delivery

12-13 – That’s more like it. Really need to be putting those away

14-16 – We need you in the box, Robin. I don’t know if you’d noticed, but we’re not putting in crosses for you to drift wide. What do you mean you’re “trying to get him to take the hint”?

17 – Oh yeah, they’ve got a 6’7” centre-back in there

18-19 – Shit, that was close! How the hell are we still behind?

20 – This keeper’s dodgy, he can definitely be got at. Best bet is to ping some high balls into the box and the rest ought to take care of itself

21 – Okay, he dealt with that one pretty easily, maybe we should have a plan B

22-25 – Come on now, no one’s picking Darren Fletcher for his crossing from deep

26 – Use your right foot, Juan, for the love of God

27 – Use your left foot, Juan, for the love of God

Football – Manchester United v Fulham – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 9/2/14
Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Juan Mata
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28-30 – Is Maarten Stekelenburg actually… good? No, that can’t be it

31-33 – Three crosses in one phase – bet none of you saw that coming. Three is more than one

34-38 – Lovely run, there. Knocking on the door now

39 – Remember when we said they had a big centre-back? Yeah, turns out they have two

40-41 – If only we’d appointed Jose Mourinho instead of David Moyes. There’s no way we’d be in seventh place and playing dull, uninspiring football if he was in charge.

42 – Better

43-45 – Can we send Mata back to Chelsea? It’s horrible seeing him reduced to this

46-47 – Actually, yeah, maybe our best chance of scoring is letting their defenders try to screw up simple backpasses

48 – A shot! A shot on goal! 30 more crosses, please

Football – Manchester United v Fulham – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 9/2/14
Manchester United’s Michael Carrick scores their second goal
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49 – That’s…. That’s not good

50-54 – Just because you’ve switched ends doesn’t mean you’ve switched centre-backs, lads

55 – A cross isn’t the same as a sideways shot, however much playing against John Arne Riise makes it seem as though that’s the case

56-57 – *Holds up still photo of cross number 16* That’s one fine looking cross… why doesn’t mine look like that

58 – We might be on to something with this ‘Stekelenburg can’t catch’ theory. Best to do another half an hour of research

59 – Oh, that’s a lovely ball. Why does every keeper we go up against end up having the game of his life?

Football – Manchester United v Fulham – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 9/2/14
Manchester United’s Robin van Persie in action with Maarten Stekelenburg of Fulham’s
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60 – Dan Burn is still 6’7”

61-62 – Barely even counts as crosses, fellas

63-64 – Remember Alex Ferguson? That was nice

65-67 – Have we been crossing the ball a lot? It feels like we’ve been crossing the ball a lot

68-69 – That’s clearly just the same cross, twice. I know there’s only a finite number, but you’d think it would take until more than 67 to run out.

70. Barely even football, let alone a cross.

71 – Beating the first man isn’t that important when there are another four behind him

72 – Too far the other way. We’re going to need something in the middle

73-74 – Are we sure Fulham only have 11 players? Is it possible Scott Parker counts as two?

Football – Manchester United v Fulham – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 9/2/14
Manchester United’s Robin van Persie misses a chance to score
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75 – That’s some lovely sliding action. Almost makes you not care about everyone missing the ball. Almost

76-77 – Nice to move on from ‘Ashley Young swinging in repeated identical crosses from the left’ to ‘Adnan Januzaj swinging in repeated identical crosses from the left

78-80 – Finally figured out their players are tall. Only took us 98% of the game

81 – Now let us never speak of this again.

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