Premier League team guide: Fulham in the spotlight
Fulham are bidding to break a cycle of consecutive promotions and relegations.
The Cottagers won the Championship play-offs in 2018 and 2020, only to immediately return to England’s second tier.
But there is a confidence that things will be different this time around after they romped to the title in 2021-22.
Manager Marco Silva has plenty of Premier League experience with Hull, Watford and Everton, which should stand the West Londoners in good stead for the coming campaign.
Last season: First (Championship)
With just three losses in their first 22 outings, Fulham set a breathless pace in the Championship last season.
And a five-game winless streak in November and December only proved to be a temporary stumble as the Cottagers won their following two matches by an aggregate score of 13-2.
The West Londoners racked up 11 wins from their next 16 fixtures before ultimately being crowned champions after a 7-0 demolition of Luton.
With 90 points on the board and a remarkable 106 goals scored, there is no doubt that Silva’s side deserve another shot at the top flight.
There is a sense among Fulham supporters that the Cottagers have squandered the advantage of securing an early promotion by being slow to act in the transfer market this summer.
Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira and Manor Solomon have arrived to bolster their options in midfield and out wide.
And the Cottagers have also snapped up Wolfsburg wing-back Kevin Mbabu to add bags of pace and experience to their back line.
But Silva is reportedly expecting as many as 10 new recruits and is believed to be unhappy with the slow progress during this window.
4-2-3-1: Rodak; Mbabu, Tosin, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; Wilson, Pereira, Decordova-Reid; Mitrovic.
Marek Rodak wrestled the gloves off Paulo Gazzaniga to become Fulham’s No1 for much of the 2021-22 season — but it is likely that the club will bring in a goalkeeper with more Premier League experience before the season gets under way.
Mbabu is set to start on the right side of defence after the Whites decided against signing last season’s loanee Neco Williams permanently, while Tosin Adarabioyo will be a key man at centre-back this term.
Harrison Reed should anchor the midfield alongside Palhinha, with Pereira, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Harry Wilson charged with supplying talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic up front.
Star man: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Mitrovic scored a record-breaking 43 league goals last term — topping the 42 scored by Portsmouth's Guy Whittingham in 1992-93.
The challenge for Fulham’s No9 now is to carry that form into the Premier League, where he has previously struggled to fire.
His best top-flight scoring season was in 2018-19 — in which he bagged 11 goals — but the 27-year-old has only hit double figures once in four attempts.
However, with Silva’s tactics more suited to Mitrovic’s attributes than those of former boss Scott Parker, it could be a very different story this time around.
Up-and-comer: Tyrese Francois
Fulham were buoyed by Tyrese Francois’ decision to sign a new two-year contract at Craven Cottage earlier this month, with a club option for a further year.
The 22-year-old was named Australia's captain for this summer’s Under-23 Asian Cup, where the Socceroos made it to the semi-finals before being knocked out by eventual winners Saudi Arabia.
A central midfielder who has already made seven senior appearances and featured in the Premier League, Francois will be hoping that 2022-23 is his breakout campaign.
The boss: Marco Silva
Silva’s aim for this season is simple — keep Fulham in the top flight.
The 45-year-old started his managerial career in his native Portugal with Estoril before moving to Lisbon giants Sporting in 2014.
After securing the club’s first piece of silverware since 2008 — the Taca de Portugal — Silva joined Greek side Olympiacos, who he guided to a record-breaking 17 consecutive league wins.
The former right-back then came to England, where he earned plenty of plaudits, despite suffering relegation with Hull.
That led to his appointment as Watford boss before Everton poached him from the Hornets after a short but successful stint in charge.
Things ultimately turned sour at Goodison Park — but not before Silva achieved a commendable eighth-place finish with the Toffees.
Now at Fulham, the well-travelled tactician will be looking to remind the Premier League of his managerial talents.
All information correct as of 11am, July 27, 2022