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Fulham predictions: Cottagers must fight second-season syndrome
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Chris Rivers
Marco Silva has endured a frustrating pre-season which has left his future up in the air
Marco Silva has endured a frustrating pre-season which has left his future up in the air

- Fulham achieved a club record 15 Premier League wins last season
- Doubts surround the future of topscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic
- Best bet: Fulham top-10 finish

Fulham are looking forward to a second consecutive season in the Premier League for the first time in nine years after finally stopping the yo-yo-ing between divisions last season. 

The Cottagers flourished on their return to the top flight, but doubts surrounding the futures of both manager Marco Silva and topscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic have cast a shadow over Craven Cottage entering the 2023-24 campaign.

Last season

After their previous two cracks at the Premier League had ended in an immediate return to the Championship, last season’s return to the upper echelon of English football could not have gone much better for Fulham.

Not once did they look like being dragged into a survival battle, remaining in the top half of the table from the end of August onwards as they finished above west London neighbours Chelsea for the first time in 40 years. 

Fulham won a club-record 15 Premier League games and came up just one short of a record haul of points as they finished 10th.

Mitrovic and Joao Palhinha were the star performers, the former enjoying his best-ever Premier League goals return with 14, although he did sully his season with an eight-match ban for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during Fulham’s FA Cup quarter-final loss to Manchester United.

The manager

Marco Silva has rebuilt his reputation in England at Fulham, guiding them to the Championship title before last season’s 10th-place finish. 

Having been previously sacked from his last two two-flight jobs at Everton and Watford, the Portuguese gave a timely reminder of his talent in succeeding where others had failed in establishing Fulham as a Premier League club.

Silva’s tactics maximised the talents of Mitrovic, who had struggled to score consistently at this level previously, while not compromising a defence largely made up of the same players that had not looked up to standard the last time Fulham were relegated.

The Cottagers rightly want to keep hold of a manager with a 50% win rate but Silva has stalled on extending his deal, which has less than 12 months left to run, amid interest from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli.


Aleksandar Mitrovic's future at Fulham remains uncertain
Aleksandar Mitrovic's future at Fulham remains uncertain

One issue contributing towards Silva considering his future at Fulham has been the lack of new faces arriving at Craven Cottage earlier in the summer, but the club are working to change that.

They splashed the cash to capture former Rangers defender Calvin Bassey from Ajax, spending nearly £20million on the promising 23-year-old.

Raul Jimenez has also made the move to west London from Wolves in the hope of rekindling his career having struggled for goals since his serious head injury in 2020.

More deals are expected to be completed with talks ongoing for Everton forward Demarai Gray, but the biggest piece of business Fulham are likely to conduct will involve Mitrovic.

Al-Hilal have made two unsuccessful bids for the Serbia international, who is eager to take advantage of the current riches on offer to players in Saudi Arabia. 

Mitrovic has been told he is going nowhere but is keen to move on and the saga is unlikely to be solved before the start of the season.

Strengths and weaknesses

Fulham have built their attack around Mitrovic and it has worked to good effect with the former Newcastle man netting 14 times in the league and laying on two assists. 

No side put in more crosses from open play than Fulham in the Premier League last term in an effort to feed the powerful Serb and while Jimenez may prove an adequate replacement for Mitrovic should he move on, any exit may force Silva into a change of tact.

It is also vital Fulham retain the services of Joao Palhinha after an excellent maiden campaign for the club last season. The Portuguese was a massive presence in the middle of the park, making more tackles than any other Premier League midfielder, and news he could miss the start of the campaign with a shoulder issue is a major blow.

Without Palhinha protecting Fulham’s backline, there’s likely to be an uptick in goals conceded with the west London outfit having significantly outperformed their expected goals against number last season. 

Best outright bet

So much rests on Fulham’s ability to retain Silva and Mitrovic’s services that it is not easy to predict how the club’s season will pan out. Should one or both leave, the 7/2 with LiveScore Bet for Fulham to be relegated may prove tempting.

But with both still in situ and the club not willing to let either leave, a positive approach is taken when it comes to backing Fulham to back up their top-10 finish from last season. 

Certainly, competition will be more fierce for a top-half spot but Fulham, at this stage, have retained all their star assets from last season, as well as making some quality additions to the squad. 

The Cottagers had a great knack for beating the teams below them last season and there were plenty of those. Retaining that ability and the core of the 2022-23 squad will give them a platform to maintain their status as a top-10 team.


FulhamAleksandar MitrovicRaul Jimenez
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