Can Marco Silva’s Fulham buck recent trend and stay in the Premier League?

The Cottagers have lasted just one season on their last two visits to the top flight.

By Press Association Published: 19 April 2022 - 8.49pm

Marco Silva has guided Fulham back into the Premier League at the first time of asking with four matches to spare.

It is the club’s third promotion in five seasons, with both of their previous top-flight campaigns ending in relegation.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at whether Fulham can survive in the Premier League next term.

Have they learned from last time?

Fulham were relegated in their last campaign in the top flight
Fulham were relegated in their last campaign in the top flight (Adam Davy/PA)

Last time Fulham secured promotion they went into the top flight confident they had learnt from the disastrous 2018-19 season, when they spent over £100million on new players – many of whom did not seem to fit in – and had three different managers in charge. But despite a more settled campaign they struggled to score goals, netting just 27 times, and finished 11 points adrift of safety.

Will scoring goals be a problem this time?

Not if they transfer across their form from this season. They have so far scored 98 goals, 33 more than second-placed Bournemouth. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has now netted a record-breaking 40 goals, while Harry Wilson hit double figures and on his previous season in the top flight netted seven times for Bournemouth.

But can they reproduce that in the Premier League?

Mitrovic scored just three league goals last season
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored just three league goals last season (Adam Davy/PA)

That’s the key question. Mitrovic managed just three in his last campaign in the Premier League and was often isolated, while only rock-bottom Sheffield United finished with fewer goals than Fulham’s tally of 27. But the dynamic system Silva has produced should see Fulham offer more of a threat next year. And Silva has averaged 1.3 goals per game during his previous stints in the Premier League with Hull, Watford and Everton.

Can the defence cope?

They boast the second stingiest defence in the division, but will face much tougher opposition next term. Silva’s teams have conceded 153 goals in 95 Premier League games with him in charge, and he will have to prove he can set up a side that can both pose a threat going forward and keep it tight at the back in the top tier of English football.

Is Silva the right man for a Premier League campaign?

Silva has undoubtedly won over Fulham fans with his entertaining football and the 44-year-old Portuguese will be looking forward to testing himself again in the Premier League, where he has enjoyed some impressive results with his former clubs. However, each of those stints were relatively short-lived, and he will be eager to prove he belongs in the top flight.

Will they need to add to their squad?

Promoted teams always need new signings, and Fulham may need to replace some key players, too. Fabio Carvalho looks set to move at the end of the season when his current contract expires and has been linked to Liverpool. Loanee Neco Williams will head back to Anfield while Neeskens Kebano, Tim Ream and Jean Michael Seri are out of contract.

So will they survive this time?

Fulham will need to be smart in the transfer market and hope Silva’s style proves to be effective at a higher level. But they do appear, at this early stage, to be better prepared than on either of their last two visits to the top flight.

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