Fulham are on course for a record-breaking promotion, but Premier League survival is a different ball game

4 min

Having scored 73 league goals so far this season, 22 of those coming in the last four games, Fulham are currently the most prolific team in Europe. 

With 19 games to go, Marco Silva’s side look on track to break the second-tier goal record of 122 set by Middlesbrough in 1926/27.

After beating Birmingham City 6-2 last week, Fulham became the first English second-tier side to score six or more in three consecutive league games since 1954 with the Cottager’s staggering goal difference of 48 now more than second-place Blackburn Rovers’ 45 total goals scored.

The stats go on and on but while scoring goals for fun in the Championship is one thing, remaining competitive in the Premier League is something Fulham have been unable to do for over a decade and it will take something special to break the cycle.

Following his side’s gritty 3-2 victory at Stoke City on Saturday, Fulham boss Silva wasted no time in highlighting the significance of this particular performance.

“A really important win for us. It was really, really important,” Silva said. “We knew Stoke are a tough team. 

“Our players showed big character, big personality. Some moments of good football and some fantastic goals. I’m pleased for my players, I am proud of them.”

“We knew from the start of the season that our strengths come from the collective – not one or two or three players. 

“They can show their quality, but if the collective produces something, it will be easier for them to show their individual quality.”

Silva went on to praise individuals such as Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Nathaniel Chalobah and believed captain Tom Cairney had his “best game so far” since returning from injury.

But while all three have top-flight experience, all three have failed to make a significant impact at that level.

Even Fulham’s mercurial number nine Aleksandar Mitrovic, who currently has 27 goals in 25 league games, is yet to prove his worth in the Premier League. 

The Serbian centre forward scored 3 goals in 27 appearances during Fulham’s last stint in the top-flight and 11 in 37 during the 2018/19 season – not the kind of numbers a team scrapping for survival can really rely on.

READ MORE: Neeskens Kebano back where he belongs and standing out in Fulham’s star-studded attack

The form of Harry Wilson, Neeskens Kebano and Fabio Carvalho suggests Fulham are in a more sustainable attacking position than in 2020, and Tosin Adarabioyo was one of the few performers last season that looked like he could return to the top level with ease.

Silva is also right to praise the collective – the squad cohesion at Fulham is allowing the team to run like a well-oiled machine, with goals coming from several areas of the pitch.

However, ruling out a complete collapse between now and May, much will rest on Fulham’s summer recruitment as they look to strengthen the squad with proven Premier League quality.

There are no guarantees Carvalho will still be at the club next season with Liverpool and West Ham circling, and although the likes of Harrison Reed, Antonee Robinson and Jean Michael Seri know what to expect now, they will need to up their game from their previous attempts.

The last time Fulham managed to build Premier League longevity immediately after being promoted was over 20 years ago when Jean Tigana led the Cottagers to a first-place finish in the 2000/01 Division 1.

The likes of Louis Saha, Luis Boa Morte, Chris Coleman, Barry Hayles and others powered Fulham to 101 points, ten ahead of second-placed Blackburn Rovers.

Success on the pitch was then emulated off it. Fulham’s owner at the time Mohamed Al-Fayed spent £35m in the summer on Juventus keeper Edwin van der Sar and Lyon striker Steve Marlet, as the club went on to spend 13 successful seasons in the Premier League.

This time last season Fulham had just two wins from 20 games, sitting 18th in the Premier League where they would remain until the end of a miserable season. The lessons are there for Silva and owner Tony Khan – they just need to learn from them.

Coincidently, with Blackburn currently second and Boa Morte back on the club’s books as a first-team coach, Fulham fans could be forgiven for thinking the stars are aligning after recent results.

But in reality, it’s going to take a lot more than just superstition for Fulham to become a mainstay in the big league again.

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