Can Fulham Get Automatic Promotion

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    With a third of the 2021-22 Championship season behind us it is a good time to take stock of where Fulham is and what it might be able to achieve over the remainder of the season.

    Fulham is having its best season since winning the league in 2000-01 when they started with 11 straight wins. That year Fulham earned 101 points with a 10 point margin over second place. In 2021 Fulham is still six points behind where 2000 Fulham was at this point in the season, but Fulham is nine points ahead of where they were in 2019 and 18 points ahead of where they were in 2017 when they eventually missed automatic promotion by just 2 points. This season is clearly the first in a long time that Fulham can reasonably talk about automatic promotion before January.

    Looking back at the history of automatic promotion since that 2000-01 season, we can see some clear patterns. The average number of points for the league winner is 94 and every team that earned 94 points or more has won the league. The average point total for second place is 88 points and only twice has a team not earned automatic promotion if they reached 88 points (one of them was Fulham 2017-18). If this season follows historical norms, then 94 points and 88 points are good targets for Fulham.

    With 17 matches complete Fulham has earned 38 points and is on pace to reach 103 points for the season. Fulham is currently earning an average of 2.24 points per match, but could drop to as low as 1.93 points per match and still reach the goal of 94 points at the end of the season. Fulham could earn just 1.72 PPM for the remainder of the season and still reach 88 points. With those numbers it is clear that Fulham has put itself in a very strong position to earn automatic promotion or to even win the league.

    However, Fulham is not operating in a vacuum, they must also beat out the other teams competing for automatic promotion. Bournemouth has an even better PPM than Fulham at 2.35 PPM. West Brom is barely off the average PPM needed to reach 88 points. Coventry isn't too far off either. What is most likely to happen is that Bournemouth or Fulham will not be able to maintain their current pace for the remainder of the season. This is not unusual. Teams that start the season well are often the ones that had good fortune with injuries and caught a couple breaks along the way too. Other teams will make adjustments with managers or bring in new players over the transfer window (ex: Mitrovic 2017-18) or just start catching a few breaks.

    I'm biased of course, but I feel like Fulham is better situated than Bournemouth to keep the current pace going. One reason is that Fulham's margin of error is less than Bournemouth's when it comes to getting wins since Fulham has had far fewer close wins. Six of the Cherries' wins were by just a goal while Fulham has had only two wins with a one goal margin. Bournemouth also has a more challenging list of matchups to close out the first half of the season. They will face three teams currently in the playoff spots and just two in the bottom half of the table. Meanwhile Fulham will face just one team in the playoff spots (Bournemouth) and face four in the bottom half of the table.

    I also feel like that Fulham has already gotten through some rough spots - Tete's injury, Carvalho's injury/illness, Cairney's injury, Tosin's suspension (one more to go on that). Fulham has the potential to improve from the state that they were in for much of the first third of the season. The bench has been deep enough that these setbacks have not prevented Fulham from being successful. That leaves Fulham with more future potential upside than Bournemouth.

    Things are looking good for Fulham to make a run for winning the league, but the word Fulhamish exists for a reason. I won't be surprised if Fulham becomes the first team to finish with 94 points and NOT win the league. Of course, that would still probably mean a second place finish with automatic promotion and I'd be okay with that.
     
    #1
  2. daddude7

    daddude7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    A very nice summary, @MicahMan. Not counting my chickens yet, but I'm optimistic.
     
    #2
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