Fulham’s Bernd Leno and Kenny Tete unexpectedly thriving as successful Dream Team double act

HERE at Dream Team HQ we consider it our responsibility to flag up success stories that may be flying under the radar.

Take the double act of Bernd Leno (£3m) and Kenny Tete (£2.7m) as a prime example.

DREAM TEAMNobody would have predicted the extent of this pair’s success[/caption]

The Fulham goalkeeper is currently the joint-second best asset in his position having gathered 24 points so far this season.

While the Cottagers’ right-back is now the joint-third best defender in the game, level with Matty Cash (£2.8m) on 30 points.

It’s remarkable that this pair have been so successful given the porous nature of Fulham’s defence at the start of this campaign.

Marco Silva’s side conceded 55 shots in their first three league games with 28 of them being on target – how they only shipped five goals in that spell was a minor miracle.

In fairness, Leno deserves plenty of credit for limiting the damage – his shot-stopping has been fantastic ever since he signed for the west Londoners.

ReutersLeno has been a great signing for Fulham[/caption]

Strangely, Fulham limited Manchester City to just seven shots at the Etihad but five of them ended up in the back of net – Erling Haaland (£8.2m) will do that from time to time.

However, they responded to that heavy defeat with a 1-0 win over Luton on Saturday.

Improbably, Leno is now level with Ederson (£4.2m), Guglielmo Vicario (£3.2m) and Robert Sanchez (£2.4m) on two clean sheets in 2023/24 – no keeper has more at this early stage.

Granted, the German’s pair came against a wasteful Everton (lowest scorers in the league) and a Luton side who have lost every game this term, but the numbers can’t be denied.

Leno has earned eleven of his points through saves – he’s made 24 in five outings, the fourth-most among all keepers.

As for Tete, he’s also benefited from an unlikely pair of clean sheets but his success is rooted in bonus points.

Bonus ballGetty

The Dutchman has earned ten bonus points across the first five Gameweeks, the highest tally among defenders.

The ex-Lyon full-back ranks highly for successful dribbles, accurate crosses, fouls won and interceptions.

In fact, Tete and Nelson Semedo (£2.6m) are the only players in their position to have earned the maximum of five bonus points in one fell swoop – the former did so against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup.

At the time of writing, Leno features in 1.8% of teams while Tete’s ownership is just 0.9%.

There are serious questions to be asked about the pair’s long-term viability not least because Fulham’s overall defensive statistics scream: unsustainable.

However, the return of Joao Palhinha (£3m) to full fitness (and the subsequent collapse of his proposed transfer to Bayern Munich) has improved the outlook at Craven Cottage considerably.

The Portuguese midfielder is a tackle machine in the middle of the park and his unmatched industry makes his side much tougher to play against.

Silva’s men play Crystal Palace, Norwich, Chelsea and Sheffield United in their next four fixtures – a run that could result in further returns for Leno and Tete.

Things could get dicey beyond that with Spurs, Brighton, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool to follow in quick succession but the Fulham duo may be able to linger near the top of the rankings for a couple more weeks yet.

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