Verdict: More good signs for Fulham – but a shrewd loan signing is needed

Fulham carved out their fourth draw in a row – this time against Southampton in a very forgettable match. 

Chances were at a premium, but the Whites are making it plain they’re nothing like the cannon fodder of 2018-19 when they shot straight back to the Championship.

The passing was slick on a slick surface, but that extra bit of quality in front of goal is missing.

Fulham need a slightly better version of Ivan Cavaleiro in the January transfer window.

That second-half header over the bar from the Portuguese when in the clear sums up the reason his side have scored just 13 in 16 games.

Neither he nor Aleksandar Mitrovic are in the zone right now.

In fact, no-one is a potent threat, not even Ademola Lookman, and that’s because sides are now doubling up on the tricky forward.

But where to find someone who hits the ground running, or rather the net?

No-one in the Premier League is going to loan a forward in form, and shopping in Europe can be hit and miss.

Although to be fair to Fulham this season, their choices have been more hit than miss. Now they need another astute loan.

Surprise, surprise – it’s VAR again

This time, Fulham got the rub of the green twice against the Saints – that puts them ahead 3-2 on favourable replays over the last four games.

Theo Walcott’s late effort was chalked off for an offside Southampton foot in the build-up, but Fulham can consider themselves lucky that Ola Aina’s arm-to-ball moment didn’t require a second look by the match referee or Jon Moss watching the screens.

The expression ‘I’ve seen them given’ came to mind as Fulham and Aina took a deep sigh of relief.

Cairney and Mitro back on the bench

Clearly neither made an impression at Newcastle on their absent boss

Who would have thought, say, three months ago, both would see more of the bench that action on the pitch?

Heroes they may be (or were), but on form head coach Scott Parker thinks not.

Cav and Mitro are much of a muchness as goal threats, but the Portuguese is faster, and speed tends to win out in the Premier League.

Not to mention Mitro’s forlorn body language as he laboured last week.

Midfield issues

Who’s the least pacey out of Andre-Frank Anguissa, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Cairney?

Add to the mix, the talents in this game that were James Ward-Prowse, Bobby Decordova-Reid, and Kyle Walker-Peters.

Maybe the latter should get himself a hyphenated name? Tom Pickme-Cairney, anyone?

Anguissa’s mucked up twice in front of goal in recent games

It looks as the midfielder swiped at the ball when he’s had the whites of the posts his eyes in that first-half attempt.

You don’t get too many of those in a top-flight match.

Give yourself a heartbeat longer, Frank.

That said, the hunger, technique and athleticism Anguissa shows is a major reason for a more controlled look about the middle third from a Fulham point of view.

An air shot, but an 8/10 performance otherwise.

Areola delivers

Three loans to no-one in particular and then bench warmer at Real Madrid was his lot before arriving at Fulham in August. It wasn’t the most exciting signing of the transfer window.

But his first-half tip on to the post from Ward-Prowse’s free-kick was the goods, and he’s done much the same in most games.

Parker trowelled on the pressure recently when he said his keeper needed to keep the side in games on occasions.

He is clearly rising to the challenge.