Fulham are back, but in a different guise to that outfit who were relegated without trace back in 2018/19. With Scott Parker at the helm, and a philosophy being built at Craven Cottage, there is a good chance that the Cottagers could produce some nice FPL assets.
I’ll be breaking down the likely starting XI for the new boys, as well as some of the potential of Scott Parker’s men to score points in FPL.
Expected Line-Up and Formation
This is a lineup that, for the most part, was what Fulham went with for last season. The one player who, as of the time of writing, causes a little bit of a stir is Denis Odoi, who has not yet been added to FPL, but who played as a right back last season, in rotation with Cyrus Christie (£4.5m).
If Odoi is to be added to the game, I think he will join Christie as a £4.5m defender, simply because of the possibility for rotation, although Odoi is the more defensive option than Christie, so may play more against the top teams.
Elsewhere on the field, Tom Cairney (£5.5m) has dropped into a deeper role in the midfield, as opposed to the number 10 role that he played for the majority of their doomed campaign two seasons ago.
This change has meant that Josh Onomah (£5.0m) has come in for more minutes in the role which Cairney vacated. Onomah did only manage 3 goals and 3 assists last season, but 2 goals and 2 assists did come in the last 8 games of the league season proper, just after lockdown.
Onomah did also start all 3 games of the play-offs, scoring a crucial goal against Cardiff on the way to promotion.
Finally, If there are injuries to the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic or Bobby Decordova-Reid, then Aboubakar Kamara (£5.0m MID) may well be pulled in up front for the Lilywhites, meaning a potential OOP pick in the Fulham ranks.
Set Piece Takers
Corners: Cairney, Bryan
Free Kicks: Cairney, Bryan
Penalties: Mitrovic, Cairney
Now this is interesting, given the stats around Fulham’s set pieces. Their xG from set pieces was 4.57 last season, which was the third-highest in the Championship, and highest of the promoted teams.
Now although they over-performed this, scoring 8 goals from set pieces last term, this was the second-lowest rank in the league, level with Leeds.
For penalties, Mitrovic is a reliable penalty taker, but he did miss one of his 5 penalties last season. However, he does seem like the nailed-on choice to take penalties, raising his £6.0m stock even further.
First 10 Fixtures
Fulham’s first 10 games have been rather kind to them, with Arsenal being the only one of the traditional “top 6” that the Cottagers face, and that being in GW1. Their full first 10 is as follows:
ARS (H), LEE (a), AVL (H), WOL (a), SHU (a), PAL (H), WBA (H), WHU (a), EVE (H), LEI (a).
Given Man City and Liverpool are Fulham’s GW11 and 12 opponents, owning Fulham players seems an easy strategy, to simply then jump off them once GW11 comes around.
Ones To Watch
We’ll start this one off nice and simple, with the obvious Fulham talisman, Aleksandar Mitrovic. The big Serbian, priced at £6.0m in FPL, notched 26 goals in the Championship last season, and provided 2 assists, along with one during the Play-Off Final, for Joe Bryan‘s second goal that night.
And despite his reputation for being aggressive and hot-headed, Mitrovic only got booked 8 times last season, which meant he only served one suspension for his total of yellow cards. It is also worth remembering that, in 100 games for Fulham, Mitrovic is yet to be sent off.
We all know that Mitrovic is massively important to this Fulham side; all you have to do it look at his overall strike rate for the Cottagers to see this. 49 goals and 7 assists in 100 appearances is incredibly good, whatever division it’s in.
Mitrovic is a real leader in this Fulham side, and if anyone is going to get Fulham the goals they need to haul themselves to safety, it will most likely be the Serbian international.
Joe Bryan, the man who bagged a brace in the play-off final, is another very talented member of this Fulham squad, but he does come at a price, compared to his other defensive teammates.
Bryan costs £5.0m in FPL, which, for a newly-promoted defender, might be seen to be a bit much, especially with other options at a cheaper price on the other side.
However, Bryan does possess a good attacking threat on Fulham’s left flank, grabbing a goal and 7 assists last season on the way to 4th place in the Championship, before scoring twice in the play-offs against Brentford to seal their promotion back to the big time.
And he has also been known to play from left midfield, as well as left back, and with the acquisition of Anthonee Robinson from Wigan, this certainly becomes a possibility in games where Fulham will need to remain solid in defense.
Bryan’s most notable outings at left midfield came in the 2017/18 season, his last with Bristol City, as he scored in the EFL Cup twice – once against Crystal Palace in the 4th round, and again at home to Man Utd in the quarter finals, as Bryan proved he could do it against the big time.