London: Jose Mourinho answered his critics — for the time being at least — as his Manchester United side recorded their biggest league victory in 13 months with a 4-1 win over Fulham, while Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 21 games, but left it late to beat Huddersfield 1-0 thanks to Lucas Torreira's overhead kick seven minutes from time.
United took advantage of Bournemouth's defeat and Everton not being in action till Monday to rise up to sixth by ending a four-game winless run in the league with a comfortable victory over bottom club Fulham.
Jose Mourinho again rang the changes, but continued to leave Paul Pogba on the bench.
And it was three of those introduced to the side from Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal that scored in the first-half with Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku on target.
But they struggled to add to that advantage after the break, even after Fulham were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, moments after Aboubakar Kamara had pulled a goal back from the penalty spot.
Eventually, United were able to do so, completing the rout in the 82nd minute when Marcus Rashford beat Fulham keeper Sergio Rico at his near post with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
Young struck early, receiving a short pass from Rashford and beating Denis Odoi far too easily as he cut into the Fulham area.
There was still much for Young to do to beat Rico but the former England international lofted a superbly weighted finish into the top corner to give the visiting keeper no chance.
The second goal, just before the half-hour, was far more routine although no less impressive given the speed with which United launched a devastating counter-attack.
Lukaku slipped the ball down the left wing for Rashford and the England forward picked out Mata, arriving speedily into the Fulham area, with a perfect pass which his Spanish team-mate steered left-footed into the corner.
There was time for United to add a third in the 42nd minute, from a clever corner routine that saw Mata and Jesse Lingard exchange passes before the former crossed into an empty six-yard area where Lukaku gratefully converted the easiest of chances.
"We were strong, aggressive and intense," said a happy Mourinho, adding, "at times it was beautiful football. The first-half was perfect."
Aboubakar Kamara's penalty pulled a goal back for Fulham, but any hope of a fightback from the visitors was ended by a red card for Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Marcus Rashford added a fourth for the hosts.
Arsenal are still yet to lead a Premier League game at half-time this season, but again came good late on when Torreira acrobatically met Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross to lift the Gunners above north London rivals Tottenham into third.
Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Matteo Guendouzi were all booked by referee Paul Tierney for flinging themselves to the ground.
Mustafi and Guendouzi were trying to fool the referee into awarding a desperate home side a penalty, while Xhaka was simply trying to earn his side a free-kick unjustly in the middle of the pitch.
That desperation to make the breakthrough summed up a frustrating afternoon for Unai Emery's men until Torreira's late intervention.
Emery again demonstrated a ruthless streak as after another fitful first-half display from his side, he made a double substitution at half-time.
Emery will have defensive problems to deal with over the festive period as Mustafi limped off just after the hour with an apparent hamstring injury, adding to the long-term absence of Rob Holding due to a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in midweek.
However, the Spanish coach at least had another three points to console him when Torreira furthered his case as a cult hero among the Arsenal support with a spectacular finish to move the Gunners above Tottenham into third in the Premier League.
Ralph Hasenhüttl's start to life as Southampton manager got off to a terrible start as Callum Paterson scored the winner in a 1-0 victory to move Cardiff up to 14th and three points clear of the bottom three.
Burnley also moved out of the drop zone courtesy of a first win in nine games as James Tarkowski scored the only goal to beat Brighton 1-0.
West Ham recorded a third straight win to move into the top half by coming from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 thanks to second-half goals from Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez and Felipe Anderson.
Updated Date: Dec 09, 2018 00:28 AM