16/05/2022May 17 LIVE
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 40-goal season in focus
Not since Guy Whittingham, for Portsmouth in 1992-93, had anyone reached the magic mark in the top four tiers.
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has become the first man in almost 30 years to score 40 goals in an English league season.
Not since Guy Whittingham, for Portsmouth in 1992-93, had anyone reached the magic milestone in the top four tiers.
Here, the PA news agency looks at Mitrovic’s staggering season.
This is 40
Mitrovic has found the net in 26 of his 40 league appearances this season, scoring more than once in 11 of those fixtures.
That includes three hat-tricks, with the Serbia international scoring all of his side’s goals in their 3-1 win over Swansea and the 3-0 success against West Brom and also tripling up in January’s 6-2 win over Bristol City.
The latter came in the middle of the Cottagers’ run of 19 goals in three games, Mitrovic with five of those after the 7-0 win at Reading brought him one of eight doubles this season. He also scored twice in both fixtures with QPR, at home to Millwall, Peterborough and Preston and at Birmingham and Nottingham Forest.
Coventry became the first team all season to stop Mitrovic scoring in two appearances and he has so far scored against 19 separate opponents.
With a goal every 93.1 minutes including stoppage time, and having started all but two games and been substituted only 10 times – often late in the game – a Mitrovic goal has often felt like an inevitability.
His tally includes six penalties and all 40 have come from inside the penalty area.
Place in history
Ricky Miller had a 40-goal season in the National League for Dover in 2016-17 but Whittingham’s 42 made him the last man to achieve the feat in the top four tiers.
Derek Dooley’s 46 for Sheffield Wednesday in 1951-52 is the post-war record for the second tier, and the next mark in Whittingham’s sights, while the all-time record at that level is 59, by George Camsell for Middlesbrough in 1926-27.
Camsell’s tally was surpassed by one a year later in the top flight as Everton’s Dixie Dean set an all-time record for an English league season. Should Mitrovic reach 43, he will crack the top 20 of that list.
Fulham clinched promotion on Tuesday night, continuing Mitrovic’s run of being either promoted to the Premier League or relegated from it in every one of what is now seven seasons in English football.
Having signed for Newcastle in 2015, he and the Magpies dropped to the second tier before bouncing back at the first attempt.
He moved to then Championship Fulham early in the 2017-18 campaign and helped them to promotion, only for the Cottagers to yo-yo between the top two divisions in every season since.
Promotion this term at least sees him go one better than Whittingham, whose Portsmouth side lost in the play-offs having – remarkably, given Whittingham’s efforts – missed out on automatic promotion on goals scored.