Last Updated: 25/08/12 5:15pm
But that's it! United were made to work for it but they earn their first points of the new season. It was a case of too little, too late for Fulham, although they'll be able to take plenty of positives out of this one. Well, I hope you've enjoyed it. I'm Ryan Gordon wishing you all a great rest of your weekend. Cheers!
Play eventually gets back under way with an old fashioned drop-ball, and Fulham have just come within a whisker of leveling, Dembele again proving Fulham's most lively player after playing in Ruiz down the wing for across, but De Gea does superbly to block the former's close range header.
It doesn't look like Rooney will continue as he's stretchered off the field. He's carried off to a chorus of cheers from the United fans, who will be hoping the injury is nothing serious.
The four minutes of added time is up, but Rooney's been on the floor for almost two minutes now, and the referee will surely add those seconds on if or when the striker can continue.
Rodallega takes kicking responsibilities but fires his effort into the wall, and follows suit with the rebound. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney is down with what appears to be a nasty gash on the inside of his knee.
Hugo Rodallega has just won Fulham a corner after hassling and harrying Vidic in the area. It's a poor delivery though and United can clear, but Welbeck concedes another foul, and this time it's in a golden position for the Cottagers.
There will be four minutes of added time in which Fulham can maybe scrape something out of this game. We're already 30 seconds into that time, and at the moment it's still United attacking, Rooney firing wide though after a brilliant pass from Carrick.
Fulham lump a free-kick into the United area, but De Gea is out to punch clear, although the referee had stopped play anyway for a push in the area.
United attack with real purpose by Ryan Giggs produces a rare miss-pass as he smashes the ball away from the on-rushing strikers and out for a throw.
Four minutes plus stoppages to go here at Old Trafford, and United are the ones enjoying most of the possession. Fulham really need to get hold of the ball though as they still trail by a goal.
Apologies for my early comment that Sir Bobby Robson was in the crowd, when in actual fact it was Sir Bobby Charlton.
Brilliant stuff from Fulham now as Dembele shows quick feet to retain possession before clipping the ball in for Rodallega, but he's unable to get a proper connection and the ball is deflected away.
From a United legend in the stands to one on the bench, Ryan Giggs is getting ready to come on for the Red Devils. He'll have to wait for the ball to go out first, but it hasn't done that in a good few minutes now.
Rooney wins his side a free-kick but fires it straight into the wall, but Rafael almost sends the rebound home as his stinging drive brings a very good save out of Schwarzer.
United legend Sir Bobby Robson is in the Old Trafford crowd, and he watches on as Wayne Rooney is just unable to connect with a sharp free-kick.
If Brede Hangeland wasn't already on a yellow card he'd probably see one now after coming right through Anderson, but the referee opts to keep his card in his pocket, which is lucky for the defender cause it would have been red.
Welbeck gets his first touch in the area, but it's not a very good one and the defenders win back possession.
Dembele unleashes and absolute thunderbolt, but De Gea gets a strong fist to it and is able to clear. From the corner the ball is played short and Dembele is again threatening on goal, twisting and turning this way and that before finally getting off a shot, but De Gea produces a brilliant reaction stop to keep his side in the lead.
Double change by United now as Sir Alex Ferguson looks to restore that two-goal cushion. Ashley Young is off for Danny Welbeck, while Shinji Kagawa makes way for Wayne Rooney. Finally, the world gets to see Rooney and Robin van Persie playing side-by-side. Fulham will be worried.
Dembele shows bags of talent down the wing to eventually win a throw after being surrounded by three United shirts.
Fulham are officially back in this, and they have Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Nemanja Vidic to thank for it as the pair fail to communicate when going for a David Ruiz cross, but the duo collide in the air with the ball eventually going in off the Serbian's flailing foot.
Patient as ever from United who play the ball from left to right and back again, but they eventually run out of ideas and the ball is cleared for a throw.
The volume inside Old Trafford raises a good few decibels as Wayne Rooney is ordered to start warming up.
Build they do, and the ball is eventually played to Van Persie who clips the ball into the area, but Rafael can only header his effort over the crossbar.
Kagawa runs across the edge of the area before trying to curl his shot into the corner of the goal, but it takes a deflection on its way through and eventually goers out for a corner. It's taken short but to no real effect, although United still have the ball and can build from the back.
Possession stats are a bit more level in this half, but United are still shading it with 57%. Meanwhile, Young breaks the off-side trap and cuts in before unleashing, but Hangeland gets a big foot in the way and is able to block the shot.
Carrick goes in a bit rambunctiously on the back of Petric and concedes a free-kick. He escapes a booking though, although that was probably his last warning.
Dembele picks up the ball in the middle of the park before bursting down the pitch and laying off to Petric, but he's unable to control properly and Vidic is able to steal away possession.
Damien Duff floats a corner into the area, but Michael Carrick is able to rise above his marker to head clear. Excellent defending from the midfielder-come-centre-back.
A long ball from the Fulham defence almost plays Petric through on goal, but De Gea comes out smartly to hoof the ball clear.
Meanwhile, United put together another attack which ends with Rafael crossing in for Van Persie, but Hangeland is just there ahead of the striker and can clear.
Anderson loses the ball on the edge of his own area to allow Ruiz to nip in, but the United defence are on top of the striker in a flash and he's eventually forced into an error and concedes possession.
United mount their first attack of the second-half, and it almost results in a goal as Valencia's low drive flashes across the face of goal, but Kagawa misses his flick and the ball comes out the other side without threatening the goal.
But that's it for the first-half, and United really have been well worth their lead. Fulham are still in this one, make no mistake about that, but it will be about whether they can take their chances in the second-half. Join me after the break to find out.
United look to work something down the right as they go in search of a fourth, but some good defending out wide eventually sees Fulham win back possession before further lifting the pressure by winning a foul.
The fourth official shows there will be three minutes of injury time added on now at the end of the half. Meanwhile, Ashley Young needs some treatment after injuring himself in a challenge on Ruiz.
How Fulham have not just pulled one back is beyond me. David De Gea does really well to get a glove on Petric's shot, but the ball drops perfectly for Damien Duff who smashes his shot into the crossbar. The ball ricochets out to Dembele, but the bounce is awkward and he can only lift his effort over the crossbar. Real chance, or chances, there for Martin Jol's men.
Rafael was maybe denied his goal earlier, but there's no doubting this one as Ashley young gets the ball out wide before clipping a brilliant ball over the top to find the Brazil international who smartly tucks his header home at the far-post.
Pulsating end to the first-half here and Van Persie looks to be pulling the trigger for a trademark volley, but Schwarzer is off his line in a flash to save.
United have the ball in the back of the net again as Schwarzer again parries a shot into the path of a United plan, but this time it won't count as Rafael da Silva was in an off-side position when Shinji Kagawa got his shot away. The Japan international was unlucky not to have scored moments before as his shot came back off the up-right.
Manchester United take the lead for the first time, and it's another goal for an Old Trafford debutant in Shinji Kagawa. A corner is initially dealt with before the ball falls for Tom Cleverley, and although his shot is saved by Schwarzer, the ball falls perfectly for Shinji Kagawa who duly smashes his shot into the roof of the net.
First yellow card of the afternoon for Fulham's Brede Hangeland, who is booked for a challenge on Da Silva in the middle of the park.
Moussa Dembele does quite brilliantly in the middle of the park as he dances his way past a number of opponents, with a foul eventually being needed to thwart the Belgium's progress. The free-kick is played short but Fulham are eventually forced to come back, but they retain possession.
United are enjoying a whopping 67% of the ball at the moment, but so far Fulham are defending well and as a team. They've looked dangerous on the break as well, and Ferguson will be wary of not pushing too many bodies forward too often.
Antonio Valencia almost bursts the back of the net after being afforded far too much space to shoot, but his rifled drive is just wide of the angle and Fulham fans can breath again.
This time Ruiz swings it in to the far post, but Carrick is there ahead of Diarra and can head clear.
Good move from the Cottagers now and some well worked passing eventually leads to a corner. Ruiz plays it short before getting it back again, and he's won his side another corner.
Smart link-up between Young and Valencia, with the latter eventually cutting back onto his left before floating the ball into the area, but Brede Hangeland jumps highest and gets in a meaty header to send the ball well clear.
Fulham finally get hold of the ball after a period of sustained United pressure, but Diarra just hoofs a long ball forward to no one in particular and the Red Devils are gifted back possession.
Really dangerous United move which sees the ball swept up the field effortlessly, but Ashley Young has to do better as the England international can only sky his cross behind for a goal-kick.
We're a quarter of the way though here, and it's been a really entertaining encounter so far. Kagawa tries to add a bit more spice to proceedings as he has a dip from range, but he doesn't quite get a proper connection and Schwarzer easily scoops up the danger.
Shinji Kagawa does brilliantly to pick out Evra, but the Frenchman's delivery into the box is not very good. However, a mix up between defender and goalkeeper sees Fulham concede an unnecessary corner, but it's easily dealt with again by the Cottagers backline.
James Kitching says: think it will be 2-2 at the end of the game with rooney scoring next and riuz scorin late on but come fulham.
A long ball over the top for Duff to chase is eventually cleared out for a corner by Nemanja Vidic. The delivery is whipped in to the near-post, where Van Persie shows some defensive qualities to head well clear.
United are seeing plenty of the ball here, and more importantly they're using it to good effect, Evra again threatening down the left flank before whipping in a brilliant delivery, but the defenders are the first to arrive and the chance goes begging.
Kacaniklic tries to deliver the sublime himself with a rasping 30 yard drive, and although he gets plenty of power on it he can't direct it and the ball fizzes wide for a goal-kick.
Ladies and gentlemen, Robin van Persie has arrived at Old Trafford. We saw him do it 30 times for Arsenal in the league last season, and he's just pulled one out the top drawer here, the Dutchman unleashing a gorgeous half-volley which flies over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Our first Fulham fan, albeit a cautious one, has found his voice, with Alastair saying: Yo Ryan! I reckon 1-1.. Fulham will tighten their defence and score on the counter with Petric.. and either side of this goal Persie will get one.. I'm obviously hoping he won't and Fulham get the 1-0 win! COME ON YOU WHITES!!
Excellent defending from Riether to track the run of Evra to just nick in and clear the ball for a corner. The delivery is not too great though and Fulham can clear, but it's another corner. This one is taken short and the ball is eventually whipped in with pace, but Mark Schwarzer is out in a flash and does well to grab hold of the ball in his six-yard area.
Continue pressure from the Red Devils, and Antonio Valencia flashed a brilliant ball across the face of goal, but there's no one in an United shirt in the area and the ball fizzes out for a throw at the other end.
Rafael Da Silva tries to work a response for United after breaking down the wing and cutting the ball back into the area, but the defence are on top of this one and Hangeland can boot clear.
Never mind doing 'pretty well', Fulham have done brilliantly, and they're in front! Bryan Ruiz plays the free-kick sneakily short to Damien Duff who is free in the box and can run onto the ball before smartly tucking his effort into the very bottom of David De Gea's goal.
They've done pretty well in the opening minutes here, though, and Petric has just won the visitors a free-kick in a dangerous position out wide...
If you're a Fulham fan, turn away now, cause I've just been told the Cottagers have managed just two wins against United at Old Trafford in 107 (one hundred and seven!) years. Oh my.
And here come the players to rapturous applause, United in their traditional red shirt and white shorts, while Fulham are in white shirts with black shorts. Old Trafford is pumping!
Are there no Fulham fans out there today? Paul Macey says: Hi Ryan. No Rooney??....cant understand that from SAF...But,i'm still going for a Utd win...3-0...RVP x 2 & Kagawa. Cheers.
In the mean time, we're just over five minutes away from the kick-off now, and referee Kevin Friend will be leading the two sets of players out onto the field momentarily.
My inbox has become inundated with your replies, but I'll keep publishing them through the match, so keep them coming, good people!
Mark from Bham says: Glad to see SAF dropped the flops from Monday big faith in rvp today I reckon 2-0 united rvp to score first! #mufc till I die!
United fans in fine voice today. Gabriel Sutton says: Think United will win this one 4-1 and can see van Persie getting a brace. They will bounce back from defeat at Everton last week, and I still fancy them for the title- they've got so much firepower now. Think Rooney will come off the bench to score, Kagawa and Petric for Fulham.
For Fulham, just one change from the side that thrashed the Canaries last time out, with manager Martin Jol bringing in Matthew Briggs at left-back for John Arne Riise.
So, as you've all probably already noticed, Wayne Rooney is on the bench for Manchester United, so we'll have to wait a bit longer to see the mouth-watering prospect of both of last season's top scorers in the league playing side by side. The other top scorer I'm talking about is none other than Robin van Persie, who starts. Nani is also dropped after failing to impress against Everton, as is Danny Welbeck who is replaced by Ashley Young.
Tom Simester says: well i bet rooney is well impressed but to be fair he was poor last week. cheers.
We've got our first caller of the day, with Aaron Middleton writing: good afternoon ryan im a very loyal united fan hoping for a good game today, though strange to see rooney on the bench! despite that a double for r.v.p. and a 4-0 nil thumping come on the devils!!!
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Briggs, Duff, Diarra, Dembele, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Petric Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Baird, Sidwell, Kasami, Rodallega, Halliche
Man United: De Gea, Da Silva, Carrick, Vidic, Evra, Cleverley, Anderson, Valencia, Kagawa, Young, van Persie Subs: Lindegaard, Evans, Rooney, Giggs, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes
The team sheets have just come across my desk, but here's your chance to get involved by emailing any thoughts or predictions to email@example.com, where I'll share them with all to see.
It would take a brave man to bet against Van Persie bagging a goal today, but history is forged by brave men, and our friends at Sky Bet have put the Holland international at 8/11 to score within the 90 minutes, while United are 2/7 to take the points today and a Fulham win is at 9/1.
Fulham, meanwhile, kicked off the new campaign in stunning form, smashing five unanswered goals past Norwich City at Craven Cottage. That result will have Martin Jol's men buzzing ahead of today's clash, although Ferguson's charges will prove a much different animal than Norwich, but the anticipation remains the same.
So, it wasn't the best of starts to the new Premier League season for United, who went down 1-0 to a well-drilled Everton side at Goodison Park on Monday. Robin van Persie made his Red Devils debut in that one, but the prolific Dutchman only got around 22 minutes of game time and was unable to alter the tide of the encounter. However, last season's Golden Boot winner is set for his first start under Sir Alex Ferguson, giving us a chance to see exactly what last term's PFA and FWA Player of the Season is all about.