Fulham’s Prospects for the 2022/23 Premier League Season

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, May 18, 2022.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Mar 4, 2014
    For the third time in five years Fulham has achieved promotion and if you aren’t now a hardened realist about the challenges of staying up in the Premier League then you have a severe case of unfounded optimism that may need professional help. However, Fulham has some advantages this time around that should give them a better shot at staying up.

    First, so this ends on a high note, let’s look at some of the marks against Fulham heading into the Premier League:
    • Carvalho will no longer be with Fulham. Carvalho was a key part of Fulham’s offensive capabilities and it will be difficult to replace his contributions.
    • High-pressing teams consistently caused issues for Fulham in the Championship. The press will only get worse in the Premier League so if Silva can’t figure out how to get his guys to play out from a high press Fulham will be in big trouble.
    • The front office has not gotten Fulham anywhere close to safety in the prior two Premier League campaigns, so their past performance in the top flight does not give us much to be cheerful about.
    • Fulham closed things out in poor form and may not have lived up to their potential. Despite scoring over 100 goals and sporting a loaded roster they still finished with only 90 points which is relatively low for a league winner and only two points ahead of when they finished third in 2017-18. Another blemish is that Fulham earned 16 points against the top six teams in the Championship while Bournemouth earned 21. Fulham might be good enough to run rampant over lesser teams, but maybe not good enough against better squads.
    Fortunately, I think the above concerns are outweighed by the things that are going well. Here are my list of positives for Fulham for this latest promotion to the Premier League:
    • Fulham are league winners and since 2014 every league winner not from Norwich has stayed up. In fact, all of them except Bournemouth have managed to avoid relegation entirely (although Burnley or Leeds are likely to end their run in the top flight this season). Since 2000 68% of league winners have survived their first season while only half of the playoff winners stayed up.
    • Marco Silva has really improved Fulham’s capabilities on set-plays. In their prior two promotion campaigns Fulham had been at the bottom of the Championship in set-piece scoring (9 and 10 goals those seasons) while in 2021-22 only two Championship teams scored more than Fulham’s 17 from set-pieces. Silva clearly had plans designed in practice that were executed in games. This could be a huge advantage for Fulham over their previous two Premier League seasons when they scored the fewest goals in the league from set-pieces. Fulham will have fewer scoring chances in the Premier League and taking advantage of set-pieces will help maximize Fulham’s goal scoring potential.
    • Fulham have a number of players who could retain their starting positions in the Premier League. Mitrovic, Wilson, Reed, Seri (if he stays), Tosin, Tete, and Robinson should all be good enough to start - in fact, all of them except Wilson have played with Fulham in the Premier League before. So rather than having to do wholesale changes in the squad, Fulham can focus on a few key positions like CB and DMF and not radically change the team dynamic.
    • Mitrovic is in great shape. We’ve all heard people say that he just can’t cut it in the Premier League, that is easily rebutted by pointing out he had 11 goals in 2018-19 while playing for a terrible team and in 2020-21 he was never put in a position to succeed by the manager. This time around he’ll have a manager who knows how to use him but he’ll also have improved quickness and stamina that will make him more effective than before.
    After promotion in 2018 I was singing in a duet with Joe Cocker - “up where we belong!” I thought Jokanovic had the talent to keep Fulham up, but that wasn’t the case. After promotion in 2020 I said I felt like Fulham was the dog that caught the car. Despite some good additions in a very short window (Andersen, Tosin, Tete, Areola, Lookman) Fulham couldn’t find a way to score. This time I’m more realistic about Fulham’s odds than in 2018, but I feel more encouraged than 2020. Earning another season in the Premier League will be tough, but I’m looking forward to watching Fulham go for it again.

    What are your thoughts? What are the things that Fulham have going for or against them?
    Last edited: May 18, 2022
  2. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    A City by a Bay
    A polite plea not to go cheap on CB. And then build on the base of a strong center of defense (i.e., H & H) ...I can dream, no?
    BarryWhite likes this.
  3. daddude7

    daddude7 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    @nevzter is right. CB is the most important problem to address. We need two more Tosins, or better. And as much as I love Reed and, surprise, Seri, they are prone to a turnover at just the wrong time.

    I do feel better about our chances next season because the team under Silva plays pragmatically. They build from the back when they can, or launch a long ball when an opportunity presents itself, and aren't afraid to hoof it if in danger. It was refreshing to see that after the years of the build-from-the-back-at-any-cost dogma. But we do want the skill, poise, and quickness to be able to mix it up, and not be predictably one way or the other, hence the needs at CB and DM.

    Where do we find a gem like Hangeland again? A man can dream.
    BarryWhite and MicahMan like this.
  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    About the last two promotions: remember that the playoffs guaranteed that we couldn't shop until the last minute, and, during this period most of the good possibilities were snapped up. I'm certain we've been seriously shopping once it became clear that we'd clinched promotion.
    BarryWhite likes this.
  5. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2013
    Virginia Beach
    I feel like the front office has done fairly well at obtaining talent (though unfortunately that has been primarily through loans). I wonder if they've been pulling in the best available athlete regardless of their fit in the squad. In this I blame the link between the front office and the manager/manager's system of play.

    Looking at the transfers in for Fulham's last Premier League season:
    Knockaert and Kongolo have been worthless
    Tosin, Tete, Robinson, and Reed have been solid and should be a contributing part of the squad next season.

    With regard to loanees, here's a list of their 2021/2022 appearances:
    Joachim Andersen - 37 appearances for Crystal Palace
    Ademola Lookman - 41 appearances for Leicester City
    Alphonse Areola - 18 appearances for West Ham
    Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 24 appearances for Chelsea (plus 8 in UCL)
    Mario Lemina - 32 appearances for Nice
    Ola Aina - 20 appearances for Torino​

    Outside of Knockaert and Kongolo, every player has logged significant either with Fulham or with mid-table or better teams in the top division in England, France or Italy. I hope that this Fulham will be more enticing for permanent transfers and that the deals can get done fairly early. Trying to integrate a handful of deadline day deals with no preseason put the team even further back.

    I think the biggest challenge will be adjusting the style of play. Fulham will not be able to boss the possession in the Premier League and shouldn't try. I'm interested in seeing how Silva adapts his strategies to the increased talent they will be facing on a regular basis.
    sacffc, BarryWhite and MicahMan like this.
  6. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    Welp, regardless of who we end up signing, we won’t have to worry about going to Turf Moor next season, unless it’s for a cup tie.
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