Fulham 2 – 2 Manchester United
Moussa Dembele, a Belgian striker 23 years of age who played for AZ Alkmaa in the Eredivisie, made his first run out for the Cottagers this weekend, replacing Clint Dempsey in Fulham’s attack. Dempsey looked lively through the first half, finding space and playing clever balls quickly around the Man United players. He made a couple of poor passes, but his creativity made up for them. Then he was brought out in the 60th minute, replaced by the much, much quicker Dembele.
Dempsey has always been a collected player with the ability to continue an attack with some smart passing and intelligent movement in the final third, but compared to many of the athletes around him on the pitch, he’s just plain slow. Dembele has speed in abundance, and a fine touch to go along with it. He turns well when receiving the ball with his back to goal, and for not having played with this squad much at all, he already seems to sense where his teammates are around him.
Dembele was courted by both Milan sides after scoring a double against Italy in a 2008 Olympic quarter-final match, so it’s a bit of a shock to see him entering the Prem for a mid-table team. What shouldn’t be a shock is the eventual moving on of Dempsey, who will certainly find it more difficult to book steady minutes with Mark Hughes’ younger and faster signing quickly settling in. Might “Duece” follow Hodgson to Liverpool, where he could find playing time in the Europa league at the very least?