It’s been an up-and-down campaign thus far in 2019/20, but Scott and his team have done just about enough to stay within striking distance of the Championship’s leading pack.
The league on the whole is reasonably well balanced after 15 matches (at the time of this writing), which has kept us only five points from the automatic promotion pace. Nevertheless, the team has left itself relatively little room for error moving forward.
With that in mind, here are what we think are the three biggest matches remaining this calendar year.
Fulham v QPR (Craven Cottage)
November 22: During the summer, we might not have looked at QPR as a particularly dangerous opponent. However, given the start Fulham has had, this is the sort of match we need to overcome. The upcoming match against our near neighbours – a team that’s even with Fulham in points despite a minus-four goal-difference is an essential one.
It’s possible that QPR’s success to this point is somewhat misleading. That goal difference is nothing to get excited about, and they haven’t really had a marquee win despite having amassing 23 points in their 15 matches. At the same time though, success yields belief, as was evident in the outspoken confidence the club displayed ahead of its recent loss to Leeds United. Warburton’s side will head to the Cottage in November looking to assert itself – and it’s essential for Fulham to take care of business in the West London Derby.
Swansea City v Fulham (Liberty Stadium)
November 29: Looking at the fixtures, Fulham’s trip to play Preston 11 days after this match is clearly an important match as well. However, looking at both games, a loss at Liberty Stadium would likely be the greater setback. Right now, Swansea are five points clear of Fulham. However, the most trusted betting sites still think Swansea are more likely to be in the top two come the end of the season – therefore, this is the sort of match Fulham need to capitalise on.
Another reason this match stands out against some others is that it will come after only two days of rest following the match against Derby County. That will match the quickest turnaround between Championship matches this season for Fulham, and the last two instances don’t bode well. We were sluggish in the 2-1 home loss to Nottingham Forest after demolishing Millwall three days prior; and we also failed to score in a 0-0 draw up at struggling Middlesbrough with only two days of rest after a win over Luton Town. The turnaround from Derby on the 26th to Swansea on the 29th will have to be smoother.
Want to watch the match with us in London at our Fulhamish Social? More details here.
Fulham v Leeds United (Craven Cottage)
December 21: Probably the most important match before the turn of the calendar will be when we host Leeds United on December 21st at the Cottage.
Despite a concerning lack of scoring punch at times, Leeds are still very much amongst the favourites to earn promotion, and they’re very likely to remain in the mix until the end. Fulham will hopefully gain some ground between now and Christmas (especially if we stop depending so heavily on Aleksandar Mitrovic). But picking up three points at home against one of the league’s most dangerous sides is the sort of opportunity that can define our season. A win in this one would give us a huge jolt that could really propel us going into the second half of the season.