Manchester United hosted Fulham at Old Trafford on the last day of the 2022/23 Premier League season.
United went into the game having already secured a top four finish and with it, Champions League football.
Erik ten Hag named a slightly changed starting XI from the one that won at Chelsea on Thursday. David de Gea started in goal with Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia ahead of the shot-stopper.
Casemiro, Fred and Bruno Fernandes made up the midfield trio.
With Anthony Martial on the bench, Marcus Rashford played up front, with Alejandro Garnacho and Jadon Sancho on either flanks.
Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Fulham.
Sancho much better and more effective on the right
Fulham took the lead through Kenny Tete in the 19th minute, but Sancho’s goal restored parity and ensured both sides went into the break level.
The Englishman was at the right place at the right time to tap in the ball from close range.
Beyond the goal, Sancho was good all game and far more involved in proceedings. With Antony injured, it fell on Sancho’s shoulders to play on the right and he did well.
He had some nice touches inside Fulham territory and during the time he was on the pitch, was positive – his first thought was always to go forward.
He took on his man whenever the opportunity presented itself and put some good crosses inside the box.
Sancho combined well with his teammates both on the edge and inside the box. This helped to untangle Fulham’s stubbornly compact defence.
This is the second game in a row Sancho has impressed from the right. Against Chelsea, he produced an attacking masterclass capped by a sublime assist.
He seems to be a far more lethal tool there compared to the left. Antony is facing a race against time to be fit for the FA Cup final but on current trajectory, Sancho is proving to be a more than worthy replacement for the Brazilian. There is plenty to be happy about with Sancho’s right-wing display.
Ten Hag has one eye on the FA Cup final
Some of Ten Hag’s personnel changes were evidently influenced by the upcoming FA Cup final against Manchester City.
The fact that players like Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Christian Eriksen were rested means that the United boss already has the showpiece event in mind.
Varane and Martial are injury-prone players and it’s no surprise Ten Hag did not want to risk them sustaining injuries in an essentially dead rubber game.
That Eriksen and Wan-Bissaka were also rested means they will be raring to go at Wembley on June 3.
With the likes of Fred, Dalot, Garnacho and Maguire also getting valuable minutes in the tank, Ten Hag will be able to call on any of them if the need arises.
Taking Casemiro off early in the second period of the game for Scott McTominay was also inspired by the need to avoid any possible calamities before the final on Saturday.
Some players may have played their final home games as United stars
United are approaching a critical summer transfer window.
The focus is on incomings but as has been widely indicated in the media, there are also plenty of likely exits.
Some players that featured against Fulham may have played their last home games in a United shirt.
There are reports linking Maguire with an Old Trafford departure. De Gea’s future at the Theatre of Dreams is also uncertain. The United number one walked out of the tunnel with his daughter in his arms.
Fred is yet to agree a new deal with the club and there has been no indication that negotiations are ongoing.
McTominay is the subject of heavy interest from Newcastle.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the loan players like Marcel Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst.
What’s for sure is that come the new season, there will be a few fresh faces in the team.