Alright, first post, might as well introduce myself. The name’s Lork, you might have seen me around on TiFF or Friends Of Fulham, and I’ve been asked to do some writing for HammyEnd. So with the pleasantries out of the way, here goes.
Stockdale – 7, played well including making one stunning save from Berbatov just before Scholes’ goal which he could have done better on, it looked like he could have sorted his feet better although it would be harsh to blame him for conceding what was a superb strike. Caught almost everything else, including a nice catch from a deflected Berbatov shot, but they were all routine really. Something’s been made that he didn’t come to catch any crosses in the game but United’s deliveries were on the whole dealt with Hangeland and Hughes, and I don’t think it’s a weakness considering his aerial performance against Bolton where he claimed crosses very impressively. So yeah, a good performance from the young gloveman who promises much.
Pantsil – 7, started off quite poor really (two incidents stick in my mind, the tackle where he should’ve got a yellow near the beginning and when he lost the ball to Park in a really dangerous position) and as per his crossing was below average, but improved as the game went on with some big defensive headers. Noticably didn’t get forward as much as Konchesky which is suprising considering Park doesn’t offer as much threat as Valencia, especially on the counter.
Konchesky – 7, found himself in space on the left loads of times but never took advantage of it fully. However he did provide a good and important outlet out wide especially since Davies and Duff like cutting inside. Valencia and then Nani were kept quiet, and he only made one ‘big’ mistake when he switched off with a backpass to Stockdale. Very solid display.
Hughes – 7, not sure how underrated he is now considering everyone’s saying it! The usual from him, superb anticipation and acceleration.
Hangeland – 9, from zero to hero in 5 minutes with goals at either end but he made many more contributions to the game aside from that. His tackling and intercepting were both top class, he wasn’t afraid to come deep to get infront of the striker and when he was the othermside he always seemed to stick a leg out. Composed on the ball and dominant in the air, this was a very impressive performance which added a goal to his disappointing tally, when you’re as tall and as good a header as he is you should be getting more than 3 goals in two and a half seasons from set pieces. The only black mark on his display was the own goal which he should have prevented, you can see him jump out of the way of the ball instead of taking responsibility for clearing it, but he made up for it at the other end so I’m not gonna be too harsh.
Etuhu – 8, had a very impressive performance going forward and defending. No doubt he should have scored from the double chance from which van der Sar made two very good saves but he made a few good runs like that which shows a significant change from the way Fulham’s midfield played under Roy, where both Etuhu and Murphy stayed deep. He barged players off the ball, made some of good tackles, filled defensive spaces well and according to the Guardian chalkboards didn’t miss a pass (I think that’s wrong, I’m sure he did one of those silly round the corner first touch passes he likes doing, why he does I don’t know). Despite this and his athleticism I don’t think he’s good enough for that role, Etuhu has many positive attributes but he’s not technically gifted or creative in possession which I think you need in a midfielder who’ll get forward often but who knows, on the offal Etuhu says he’s always been a box to box player so it’ll be interesting to see how he plays this role in the rest of the season, assuming a replacement doesn’t come in of course.
Murphy – 7, just a shame he isn’t 5 years younger then! You can tell his legs are going as both Lee Dixon and Graham Taylor, pundits yesterday for the BBC, pointed out that he didn’t close down Scholes much especially in the first half, and more often than not he’ll be subbed before the end of the game. Having said that he shouldn’t be replaced just yet and yesterday’s game showed why as after a couple of poorly misplaced passes he ran our midfield and made some nice tackles. With Etuhu breaking forward more often Murphy’s adopted the same role as he did when Bullard played in midfield by hanging back and protecting the back four when we have possession. He didn’t make too many defence splitting passes, but maybe that’s too much to ask against a team like United.
Duff – 7, made a great run for Davies’ goal with a bit of good fortune thrown in, and set up Hangeland’s header, and set up the corner from which he set up Hangeland’s header and worked hard in defence, but I thought he was quiet otherwise. Oh yeah, he also gave away a freak penalty which I thought was stonewall but others disagree. Again he looked more threatening on the right of midfield than the left.
Davies – 8, looked dangerous all afternoon and could have added to his goal if he had a bit more composure with his chance from a nice Zamora knockdown. His intelligence is so impressive, and with last season’s injury problems behind him it’s good news we’ve got him for another 3 years. Worked hard with some clever little passes and movements, including giving Evra a massive headache in the first half when he often drifted inside to cause problems. Good finish too.
Dempsey – 6, looked out of sorts. The pundit on my stream mentioned his intelligent movement which helped assert us onto the game which I couldn’t see, which is why he might be getting the lowest rating of the day. But took shots from distance when he didn’t need too, and when he got subbed his body language was poor. One of our most talented players who I think is much better suited to left midfield than behind the striker but he hasn’t looked good in the couple of games we’ve had. Maybe 2 years of non stop competitive football has caught up to him.
Zamora – 9, had a stormer. His strength and target man play were top class, poor young Jonny Evans was completely dominated by him aerially and on the floor. He kept most long balls up to him (and there were a few) to start counter attacks and hold possession, although I think he would have benefitted from Dempsey and then Dembele not dropping so deep because he often had to hold up the ball for quite a few seconds, by which time the attack loses alot of momentum. Had a tricky but clear chance a few minutes before Hangeland scored the own goal, but if he carries on like this he’s surely a shoe-in for the England squad in september.
Dembele – 7, looks remarkably similar to Zamora in terms of physique. Some intelligent runs, flicks and passes, but it’s way too early to say how good or bad he’ll be for us. I thought Dempsey gave us better shape despite his below par performance and we didn’t play as well when he came on but that may also be down to Nani coming on for United.
Greening – N/A, only on for 10 minutes so can’t really give a rating. Most notable contribution was a clever foul on Nani which earned him a yellow card. Desperately needs an amazing beard again.