Fulham surprised many by winning promotion to the Premier League from the Championship last season. However, their success is not that surprising considering that boss Slavisa Jokanovic has previous of winning promotion, having previously guided Watford to the top-flight in the past, only to leave the Hornets.
The Cottagers needed heavy recruitment in the summer to have a squad of players, as their squad was tiny prior to a raft of new arrivals this summer.
One of those new arrivals was Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who arrived on a permanent deal after impressing at Craven Cottage on loan in the second half of last season.
Already proving vital to Fulham
Mitrovic proved crucial in the Cottagers winning promotion to the top-flight, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances for the team from the capital, including the play-offs.
The Serbian striker has already shown his importance to the Cottagers this season. The 23-year-old scored in the 3-1 defeat at Tottenham, while on Sunday he scored a brace in a 4-2 home win over Burnley. He could have had a hat-trick too, but a late effort cannoned off the woodwork. The victory over the Clarets could prove to be a vital one, as Jokanovic’s side look to get a foothold in the Premier League.
Mitrovic looked like an exciting prospect at Newcastle
Mitrovic at 23 is still relatively young. When he joined Newcastle in 2015, he looked like he had the potential to become an exciting player. The Serbian international seemed to be raw but talented.
Unfortunately, his rather fiery temperament saw him in trouble a number of times during his time in the north east. In fact, he was dismissed twice during his debut campaign with the Magpies.
In his debut campaign with Newcastle, he scored nine times in the top-flight, which is not a terrible return for a young striker playing in the Premier League. However, the next season and a half saw Mitrovic score just five times in 31 appearances, 25 of those appearances coming in the Championship.
For some reason, he struggled for form at the north east club in those 18 months. He never fulfilled his supposed potential. Whether it was a lack of self-belief or a lack of belief from the clubs coaching staff, he struggled to score goals.
However, that rather surprising temporary switch to Fulham in January seemed to reignite the fire of him and he became an integral part of the Cottagers team. The striker joined Fulham on a permanent basis for an initial fee of around £22million potentially rising to £27million with add-ons.
The deal looks like a very good one considering the strikers start to the season. Newcastle fans may regret the striker’s sale, especially if he continues in the same Vein of form this season.
A goalscorer essential for a relegation battle
When Fulham achieved promotion, they were labelled as potential strugglers straight away. The Cottagers are expected to be in the relegation dogfight come the end of the season.
Jokanovic’s team are currently odds of 3/1 to suffer relegation this season, which makes them joint-fourth favourites for the drop. However, what they possess in Mitrovic is a striker who could be prolific this season, an asset that most relegation strugglers do not possess. It can be the difference between survival and relegation.
Mitrovic has started the campaign brightly and with the right service, he obviously knows his way to goal. If the Serbian can continue to lead the line as he has done and continues to score on a semi-regular basis then it could be the key to the Cottagers staying away from the bottom three.
Can Aleksandar Mitrovic help Fulham beat the drop this season?
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