Scott Parker’s side cannot afford to drop many more points when they catch their opponents on an off-day such as this. A fourth consecutive draw, and second goalless affair at Craven Cottage in 10 days, was fair and adds to the sense their early-season defensive calamities are behind them; given victory against an under-strength Southampton side would have wrenched them out of the relegation zone, though, it was hard not to sense this was a missed chance.
In fairness, there were not too many of those during the afternoon. Football without fans feels particularly bleak on Boxing Day, when the conviviality of the season is supposed to pulsate around the stands and spill into surrounding streets, and both teams could have used some extra buzz. Neither could be faulted for endeavour and there was plenty to admire about their structures off the ball; none of that was enough to set pulses racing and the major frustration was felt by those in home colours.