The New Boys in the Premier League
By Josh Novack
With the 2021/22 season coming to an end, we saw three teams fight their way to promotion from the Championship, and up in to the highest tier of English football. Now, with the upcoming season on the horizon, let’s have a look at all three of the newly promoted sides, and what they have to offer in the Premier League.
2021/22 – Promoted as Champions
So, Fulham reigned victorious in the Championship, and are now back in the Premier League…
Well, after being relegated in the 2020/21 season, new manager Marco Silva took his side to a 1st placed finish in the Championship, sending them straight back up, in a season which saw the Cottagers score a whopping 106 goals, while managing to concede only 43. Often seen as a Yo-Yo team for the last 4 years, due to the fact that they were promoted (17/18), then relegated (18/19), then promoted (19/20), and then relegated once again (20/21), the West London side will be looking to cement their place in the Premier League for years to come.
Marco Silva is their manager this time around. Haven’t I heard of him before?
Indeed, many Premier League fans will know of Portuguese manager Marco Silva, who was hired by Fulham in June of 2021, after a poor season back in the Premier League. Previously managing at Watford and Everton, Silva has a 51.2% win rate in his managerial career, a career spanning 10 years. It must be said, that this win percentage is no mean feat. Bringing positional play and a 2012 Spain-esque 4-2-3-1 formation to Craven Cottage, led to his side winning 29 of his 50 games at Fulham over the last year, and garnering 90 points in the league, while having the second most possession in the league. The Portuguese man is not unfamiliar with leading a team to a high placed Premier League finish, as he took Liverpudlian side Everton to an 8th placed finish in 2019, narrowly missing out on a spot in the Europa League by just 3 points. Thus, Marco Silva will be looking to do the same with his Fulham side this coming season, prioritising possession based football, all while creating as many chances as possible, seeing as the side finished the 2021/22 season with both the highest expected goals (xG) in the Championship (2.07 per game), as well as the most goals scored in the championship (106).
And how about the players he has at his disposal?
Well, Marco Silva absolutely has a lot to work with as for the players at his disposal. Last season’s top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic and tricky playmaking winger Harry Wilson, both played a massive part in taking Fulham to promotion last season, and Silva will no doubt be looking to these two to perform in the Premier League this coming season.
First, let’s talk about the Serbian goalscoring monster Aleksander Mitrovic. Having played in the Premier League numerous times, with both Newcastle United and Fulham, it’s been said by many that he is yet to live up to his Championship form in the Premier League, scoring just 24 goals in 104 appearances, and a highest scoring season of just 11 goals (18/19) in the Premier League. However, Fulham will be hoping for him to continue his form from the 21/22 season, a season in which he scored 43 goals in 44 appearances, breaking the record for the most goals scored in a Championship season. The 27 year old, who was named the Championship Player of the Season, is a danger in the box, standing at 6’2 tall. Should Fulham look to him for goals, crosses will be the way to do so.
Now, who better to put those crosses in to the path of Mitrovic than former Bournemouth winger Harry Wilson. The Welsh winger, who is known for his free-kicks and range of passing, chipped in with 19 assists last season, getting on the score sheet 10 times alongside Mitrovic. It goes without saying that he is one to look out for next season, as Fulham aim for a top season back in the Premier League.