Why Mitrovic can fire Fulham to a top-half finish in the Premier League
Newly promoted Fulham have made a stop-start beginning to this season – winning one, drawing one and losing two games in the league so far. This is after spending a whole lot of money on several new players, who are expected to take time to gel before firing on all cylinders.
Manager Slavisa Jokanovic has a job of finding the best XI and fielding them on a regular basis to maintain continuity.
One man who has been on fire for the Cottagers is Alexandar Mitrovic. The Serbian striker has already scored four goals in four appearances, including a brace against Burnley in the club’s only victory of the season so far.
Fulham were clever to get him on loan last January from Newcastle United, and the striker responded by scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances. Fast forward to the summer transfer window, when the Magpies were looking to offload the 23-year-old for financial help, Fulham swooped in to get the player on a permanent deal.
The London club have got a bargain deal as they only had to pay £20m to get the striker. And since the start of this season, Mitrovic has looked very threatening.
He is a perfect target man for Jokanovic’s system. The 23-year-old can win aerial duels and shrug off centre-backs with ease, having a success rate of 2.8 per game.
It helps the supporting cast to run past him, expecting a knock-down. So, if pacey players are fielded alongside the Serb, it makes up for a threatening frontline. It is a mixture of physicality, pace and lethal finishing in front of goal.
Mitrovic has helped Fulham raise their confidence to play in a particular style, as they know the striker more or less wins the duel to get the team up the pitch if a long ball is played towards him.
In addition, the ruthlessness shown by the 23-year-old has been the impressive part. Whenever a cross is played towards him in the box, there is always a danger of him winning the header and harrowing it towards goal.
All in all, it was a very good deal on Fulham’s part to get the striker on a permanent basis this season. If he continues to do what he has been doing in the opening few weeks, the Cottagers can expect a top-half finish this season. Jokanovic just has to figure out his best eleven as soon as possible.