The majority inside this arena had thrilled at the prospect of a long-awaited Premier League return, the raucous atmosphere prior to kick-off on the banks of the Thames an outpouring of four years of frustration spent on the outside looking in. Yet, where Fulham had hoped to showcase the quality that had thrived in the second tier, this ended something more of a wake-up call: an education in just how unforgiving this division can be.
The sight of Wayne Hennessey diving to push away Ryan Sessegnon’s goal-bound header as full-time approached was the final reminder that this campaign, for all the lavish transfer outlay, will endure moments of difficulty. Crystal Palace, initially becalmed but assured almost from the moment they claimed the lead, departed in comfortable victory – a fourth in succession either side of the summer – with this a familiar kind of win. None of their summer signings had started. The old guard merely maintained momentum.