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Fulham 2022-23 season preview - prediction, summer signings, star player

:Headline: Fulham 2022-23 season preview - prediction, summer signings, star player:
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look ahead to Fulham's 2022-23 campaign, including predictions, summer signings and their star player.
Sports Mole

Fulham are preparing for life back in the Premier League, with the Cottagers winning the Championship last season, boasting a record of 90 points from their 46 matches.

Marco Silva's side finished two points clear of second-place Bournemouth, while they were eight clear of third-place Huddersfield Town, with the capital outfit proving to be the best side in the second tier.

Fulham have not been able to secure back-to-back campaigns in the Premier League since 2012-13 and 2013-14, which is an indication of the size of their task in the coming season.

The Cottagers have already made some impressive signings during the summer transfer market, and they should be full of confidence due to their strong 2021-22 campaign.

Fulham will undoubtedly be one of the favourites for relegation in the coming season, though, and the club do not have time to feel their way into the new campaign, with Liverpool their opponents on the opening weekend.

Here, Sports Mole looks ahead to the upcoming campaign for the Whites, who have finished 19th, 19th and 18th in their last three top-flight campaigns.


FIXTURES

Fulham will begin their 2022-23 Premier League campaign at home to Liverpool on August 6 before making the trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their second game of the season on August 13.

Silva's side will actually play five times in the league in August, also taking on Brentford, Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion before opening September with games against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

Fulham will take on fellow promoted side Nottingham Forest on September 16, while their final match ahead of the break for the 2022 World Cup will be against Manchester United on November 11.

The Cottagers will be back in action on Boxing Day against Crystal Palace, while they will again face Tottenham and Chelsea in back-to-back fixtures in January and February.

Fulham's last home match of the campaign will be against Palace on May 20, while they will end their season with the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

> Click here to see all of Fulham's 2022-23 fixtures


SUMMER SIGNINGS

In
Joao Palhinha (£18m, Sporting Lisbon)
Andreas Pereira (£8.5m, Manchester United)
Manor Solomon (loan, Shakhtar Donetsk)
Kevin Mbabu (£6.4m, Wolfsburg)

Out
Fabio Carvalho (undisclosed, Liverpool)
Cyrus Christie (released)
Fabri (released)
Michael Hector (released)
Alfie Mawson (released)
Jean Michael Seri (free, Hull City)
Timmy Abraham (released)
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£13.5m, Napoli)
Sonny Hilton (loan, Carlisle United)
Taye Ashby-Hammond (loan, Swindon Town)
Steven Sessegnon (loan, Charlton Athletic)
Kieron Bowie (loan, Northampton Town)

Fulham total spent to date: £32.9m
Fulham total received to date: £13.5m

Fulham net transfer balance: -£19.4m


SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Marek Rodak, Paulo Gazzaniga

Defenders: Kenny Tete, Terence Kongolo, Tim Ream, Tosin Adarabioyo, Joe Bryan, Antonee Robinson, Kevin Mbabu

Midfielders: Harrison Reed, Neeskens Kebano, Harry Wilson, Tom Cairney, Anthony Knockaert, Nathaniel Chalobah, Josh Onomah, Tyrese Francois, Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Manor Solomon

Forwards: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Bobby Decordova-Reid, Ivan Cavaleiro, Rodrigo Munoz


STRONGEST XI


STAR PLAYER - Aleksandar Mitrovic

Mitrovic was in stunning form for Fulham last season, finding the back of the net on 43 occasions in 46 appearances, with all 43 of his goals coming in the Championship.

The 27-year-old struggled during his side's 2020-21 campaign, only managing four goals in 31 appearances in all competitions, with just three of those strikes coming in England's top flight.

Mitrovic has scored 24 Premier League goals during his professional career, though, and he now boasts a record of 96 goals in 177 appearances for Fulham in all competitions.

There will be a lot of pressure on the Serbia international to perform, but the Cottagers could be a force in the new season if the striker is able to transfer his Championship form into the Premier League, and the club's summer transfer business means that he should be served by better players.


MANAGER - Marco Silva

Silva took charge of Fulham last July following the departure of Scott Parker, with the 45-year-old penning a three-year contract at Craven Cottage.

The Portuguese was no stranger to English football, having had spells in charge of Hull City, Watford and Everton in the Premier League after leading Olympiacos to the Super League title in 2015-16.

Silva has won 29, drawn 10 and lost 11 of his 50 games in charge of Fulham, and he will be keen to prove himself in the Premier League after a difficult spell at Everton, which led to him being sacked in December 2019.

The former defender has been backed with new signings in the current market, and it is clear that the players bought into his methods last season, which was perhaps not the case at Everton.

Fulham are certainly up against it when it comes to staying in the Premier League, but Silva's experience, particularly in the difficult moments, should stand the team in good stead.


LAST SEASON - Championship winners (promoted)

Fulham secured a return to the top flight of English football by winning the 2021-22 Championship, with promotion secured in the middle of April following their win over Preston North End.

The Cottagers were confirmed as champions with a 7-0 success over Luton Town at the start of May, meanwhile, and they finished with a record of 27 wins, nine draws and 10 defeats from 46 matches, which saw them collect 90 points.

Fulham scored 106 league goals during the 2021-22 campaign, with 43 of those coming from Mitrovic, while Carvalho, Harry Wilson, Kebano and Decordova-Reid also posted impressive returns in the second tier of English football.

The London club did not make too much of an impression in either the FA Cup or EFL Cup, being eliminated in the fourth round of the former and third round of the latter.

However, earning promotion back to the top flight was always their number one priority, and the fact that they managed to win the Championship title made it a hugely successful campaign.


PREDICTION

Fulham have made some impressive signings during the summer market, bringing in Palhinha, Pereira, Mbabu and Solomon, and the club are still working on new additions.

The Cottagers have lost brilliant teenager Carvalho to Liverpool, though, and it is difficult to ignore their recent record in the Premier League when coming to a final decision.

Much could depend on whether Mitrovic is able to transfer his Championship form into the Premier League, as Fulham will likely have to score a lot of goals this season to stand a chance of staying in the league.

Having finished 19th, 19th and 18th in their last three top-flight campaigns, it is tough to back them with any real confidence, but they certainly have the capabilities to be a surprise package.

We are expecting it to be very, very tight at the bottom of the division this season, with a number of teams potentially being involved in the battle to stay in the league. When all is said and done, though, we are backing Fulham to drop straight back into the Championship in 19th position.

VERDICT: 19th body check tags ::

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