Fulham, within the nicest potential method, are maybe the least attention-grabbing crew within the Premier League this season.
The Cottagers are without delay too far adrift to problem for European qualification and too far away from the dropzone to agonize by relegation. In contrast to the groups round them within the desk, comparable to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bournemouth, they don’t seem to be beneath new administration this time period. No marvel, then, that Fulham have flown beneath the radar for a lot of 2023/24.
Marco Silva is not going to thoughts that one bit. Initially of the marketing campaign, many tipped Fulham to be concerned within the demotion dogfight. They’d simply misplaced Aleksandar Mitrovic, their long-term talisman, to Saudi Arabia. That nation’s Professional League additionally spent a lot of the summer season sniffing round Silva, who was reportedly supplied an enormous £20m-a-year pay packet to leap ship.
The supervisor in the end determined to remain in west London, however it was an unwelcome distraction on the eve of the brand new season. So too was Joao Palhinha’s proposed transfer to Bayern Munich, which fell aside on the final minute on switch deadline day.
In these circumstances, plus the broader concern over second season syndrome, it could not have been an enormous shock had Fulham struggled. The actual fact they’ve steered away from the underside three all season lengthy – the bottom they’ve been within the desk is fifteenth, and that was for simply two gameweeks in of November – is testomony largely to the acumen of Silva, who doesn’t get sufficient credit score for the job he has performed at Craven Cottage.
A 3-1 victory over Bournemouth on the weekend means Fulham have misplaced simply certainly one of their final 5 league encounters. Rodrigo Muniz notched a brace with two poacher’s finishers that delighted his supervisor, who continues to be in search of a Mitrovic substitute amid damage struggles for Raul Jimenez. That man was anticipated to be January signing Armando Broja, however Muniz has stepped up because the Chelsea loanee got here by means of the door.
Fulham had been pleasingly environment friendly. Bournemouth took 25 pictures to the house crew’s seven, however six of Fulham’s efforts hit the goal in comparison with 4 for his or her opponents.
Usually for the Cottagers, at the least one of many two large gamers – the evergreen Willian and Bobby Decordova-Reid – was concerned in each objective. Fulham like to assault down the flanks: solely 24% of their assaults come by means of the center of the pitch.
Out of possession, Silva likes to see his crew function with aggression and goal. Fulham are first within the division for interceptions per recreation with 11.8, with Antonee Robinson method out in entrance within the particular person rankings with 63. Of Premier League midfielders, solely Lewis Cook dinner (39) has made extra interceptions than Palhinha (35).
There are nonetheless areas during which Fulham can enhance. They’ve solely overwhelmed two groups at the moment within the prime half of the desk. Solely Sheffield United have a worse away file than Silva’s aspect, who’ve additionally misplaced 11 of the 13 matches during which they’ve conceded the opening objective.
General, although, the Portuguese is doing a wonderful job once more this season. With a 10-point buffer above the underside three, Fulham have the flexibility to play with out strain within the coming weeks. A second consecutive top-half end – a feat Fulham haven’t achieved within the prime flight since 2011/12 – is a definite risk.