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From relegation to the top 10: Fulham’s Premier League journey

30th May 2023

© Dara Curran

The 2022/23 Premier League season has witnessed Fulham’s remarkable resurgence. Strategic decisions, both on and off the pitch, have been at the heart of this successful campaign. The Whites’ solid performance throughout the season has secured their first top 10 finish for more than a decade – a remarkable turnaround considering the distance they had to cover over the past few years.

The blackjack analogy

Comparing Fulham’s journey to a game of blackjack might seem unusual initially, but the analogy holds on closer inspection. Much like in blackjack, where the players must adapt to the hand they’re dealt, Fulham has had to adapt to the challenges presented throughout the season. The strategic decisions made by the management, the skill shown by the players, and the occasional stroke of luck have all contributed to Fulham’s successful campaign, much like a well-played game of blackjack.

With this successful season under their belt, Fulham can look forward to the next season with optimism, ready to play their next hand in the Premier League.

Marco Silva’s influence

The appointment of Marco Silva as head coach has been a catalyst for Fulham’s transformation. Silva took the reins at Craven Cottage in the summer of 2021 following Fulham’s relegation to the Championship.

Silva’s tactics and management style have been vital to Fulham’s successful campaign. Despite a mixed bag of experience in English football, Silva proved his managerial prowess at Fulham, leading them to a swift promotion back to the Premier League. His tactics have been instrumental in Fulham playing some of the most enchanting football in the country.

Shifting players: The crux of success

A masterfully curated squad of players has greatly shaped Fulham’s triumphs. A blend of seasoned pros and burgeoning stars arrived at the club’s doorstep during the transfer season. You only have to look as far as Aleksander Mitrovic, who has scored 15 in all competitions this season, putting to bed the debate of if he can handle it in the Premier League.

A number of other astute transfers, such as João Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Bernd Leno, Issa Diop, Carlos Vinícius, and Willian have broadened the team’s repertoire. These are the unsung heroes contributing tirelessly to Fulham’s robust campaign.

A deep dive into performance

This season, Fulham has unfurled its prowess to the world, locking horns with football’s biggest names. They showed their mettle with memorable victories against the likes of Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, scoring three without reply in each game. Even after a few blips on the radar – the 4-1 home defeat against Newcastle United and losing 3-0 to Arsenal – Fulham demonstrated they belonged back in the top division.

Their performance is a cocktail of robust defence and explosive offence, marking their territory in 10th spot in the Premier League table.

The cornerstones

Aleksandar Mitrović, Fulham’s leading scorer, has emerged as the linchpin in the final third this season. His potent mix of raw power, positional understanding, and scoring prowess has often been the difference between victory and defeat.

João Palhinha, Fulham’s defensive midfield recruit from Sporting Lisbon, has been a revelation; shielding the defense and stymying rival advances. His presence has fortified Fulham’s defense, enabling the midfield to join the offensive onslaught, thereby adding another layer to Fulham’s game.

Bernd Leno and Issa Diop, veterans at the back, have fortified Fulham’s defences, bringing a wealth of experience to the team. Their stability at the back has been instrumental in Fulham’s successful season.

The final word

Fulham’s journey in the 2022/23 Premier League season can be likened to a pulsating round of blackjack — every tactical manoeuvre, skill execution, and the occasional streak of good fortune counts towards a winning hand. The management, the squad, and the genuine fans can eagerly anticipate more electrifying action as Fulham forges ahead in the Premier League.

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