Southampton couldn’t break Fulham down in a frustrating 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage.
The Saints, missing in-form central defender Jannik Vestergaard to a knee injury, Danny Ings to a hamstring injury and Nathan Redmond to a recurring muscle issue, as well as the suspended Oriol Romeu, were able to still name a very strong starting 11. Ibrahima Diallo, for example, was able to make his Premier League debut for the Saints on their visit to London, whilst the hosts were missing their head coach Scott Parker, who was self-isolating due to being a close contact of someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a game where the visitors looked the more likely to take the three points, Fulham did look the brighter side to start with, with chances for Ademola Lookman and a handball call going against them after VAR rightly ruled Jan Bednarek’s use of the elbow to be in line with the rules.
Great play from on-loan Englishman Ruben Loftus-Cheek played through Andre-Frank Anguissa, who squandered the hosts’ best chance of the first half with a poor shot.
James Ward-Prowse, as he tends to do, also gave Southampton the chance to take the lead. A free-kick in an ideal position for him smacked against the crossbar after a fingertip save from Alphonse Areola.
Southampton appealed for a penalty midway through the second half, which was ruled out by VAR, but Southampton did finally break the deadlock on 75 minutes – or so they thought – Shane Long’s finish was ruled out for offside.
Theo Walcott also had a go, but his goal was also ruled out for an offside decision.
In a game of few chances – just three shots on target all game – both sides will look to push on in their next fixture and produce something more exciting if they are to achieve their goals of survival (for the Cottagers) and European qualification (for the Saints).
It wasn’t one that will live long in the memory.
Up next, the Saints host West Ham in a game which will now be played behind closed doors on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Fulham take on Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in the hope of sealing a shock win to push on out of the relegation spots.
FT: Fulham 0-0 SOUTHAMPTON.
Fulham: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Decordova-Reid (booked) (Mitrovic 83′), Anguissa (booked), Reed, Robinson, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman (Kebano 90′), Cavaleiro. Unused Subs: Hector, Odoi, Cairney, Rodak, Ream, Bryan, Kamara.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand, Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Armstrong (Djenepo 90’+3′), Long (N’Lundulu 90’+2′), Adams. Unused Subs: Obafemi, Valery, Smallbone, Salisu, Tella, Vokins, Forster.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Theo Walcott (SOUTHAMPTON).
Referee: Darren England.