Last season Fulham were everyone’s second favourite team. Never in my life can I remember an entire nation willing on one club as England did Fulham in the Europa League final. The heart-break of losing to Atletico was felt as much by my friends and I (not one of us Fulham fans) as it was by Cottagers themselves. Message boards for every club had threads running a mile a minute updating the game. In the words of one United fan: “Agent Forlan has gone rogue! Repeat Agent Forlan has gone rogue. Take him out!”
As much as continuing the fantastic job done by Uncle Roy in terms of success I pray that Hughes maintaining the attractive football that Fulham played last season. Hughes’ Blackburn team were no mean proposition and Ewood Park was not an easy place to go and get a result under his reign however it could hardly have been said to have been the most thrilling football available. However the game against United was definitely the game of the albeit very new season and shows there is dynamism and adventure under Hughes.
The draw was on one level a very fair result and yet on another daylight robbery by United. How Chris Foy did not award a penalty for the foul on Zamora by Vidic is something only he can know, ditto how Duff’s mis-kick hitting his arm constitutes handball. After an opening first half hour where United were dominant and Scholes continued to cause journo’s to flick to the section of their thesauruses titled “Old Player Rolls Back Clock” with a phenomenal daisy-cutter. Gradually though the two men in the middle of the park started to get bypassed by the triangle of Dempsey, Etuhu and Murphy and Fulham were firmly on top as the half ended.
On the overall balance of the match, given the phases of domination by each side a draw was the right result but on the basis of the key events in the game, the stonewall penalty that was denied for Fulham, the penalty that shouldn’t have been (Nani was obviously channelling karmic forces with that one) the Cottagers were robbed of a deserved victory.
Fulham have some excellent players such as Dempsey, Murphy and Hangeland. Along with the much improved Zamora who tormented Jonny Evans they have the basis to be challenging alongside Everton and Villa. Although they are hampered by lack of squad depth and funds the first team is filled with quality top flight players and rather than falling back Hughes has the potential to push on with this club rather than take them back into the relegation mire that Hodgson rescued them from only a few seasons ago.