Fulham's Defensive Duo Shines
Who would have predicted the success of Bernd Leno and Kenny Tete? Fulham's goalkeeper and right-back have been standout performers this season. Leno is currently the joint-second best asset in his position, while Tete is the joint-third best defender in the game.
Thriving Against the Odds
Considering Fulham's porous defense at the start of the campaign, it's remarkable how successful Leno and Tete have been. Fulham conceded 55 shots in their first three league games, yet only let in five goals. Leno's shot-stopping has been fantastic since joining Fulham.
Clean Sheets Galore
Leno has already earned two clean sheets this season, making him one of only four keepers with this feat. His clean sheets came against Everton and Luton. While these teams may not be the strongest, the numbers can't be ignored. Leno has also made 24 saves, the fourth-most among all keepers.
Tete's Bonus Points
Tete has also benefited from clean sheets, but his success is rooted in bonus points. The Dutchman has earned the highest tally of bonus points among defenders. He ranks highly for successful dribbles, accurate crosses, fouls won, and interceptions. Tete and Nelson Semedo are the only defenders to have earned five bonus points in one go.
The Future Outlook
While there may be questions about the long-term viability of Leno and Tete, the return of Joao Palhinha has improved Fulham's defensive outlook. The midfielder's presence makes Fulham tougher to play against. With upcoming fixtures against Crystal Palace, Norwich, Chelsea, and Sheffield United, Leno and Tete could continue their success in the short term.
Lingering Near the Top
Although tough matches against Spurs, Brighton, Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Liverpool follow, Leno and Tete may be able to stay near the top of the rankings for a few more weeks.