It almost started calamitously for Fulham. Six minutes into the game and a Conor Townsend cross tumbled out of the sky and past a stranded Alphonse Areola. It smacked the woodwork.

It was a fortunate moment that prevented Fulham’s off-kilter start from becoming a disastrous one, especially as Scott Parker’s side have conceded inside the opening 10 minutes in all bar one of their league defeats this season.

For Fulham’s new-look back line, it could also mark a key juncture. Defender Joachim Andersen, signed on loan from Lyon in the summer, was making his Premier League debut having been ruled out with an ankle ligament injury last month, sustained just days into life as a Fulham player. He was the latest addition to a defence that was, including the goalkeeper, comprised entirely of players that were not at the club last season.

Ever since their porous top-flight stay in 2018-19, the question of defensive solidity has stalked this Fulham team…



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