Fulham: Jokanović has made them promotion favourites
After coming close last season, Fulham look set to return to the Premier League after a four-year absence.
Fulham have yet to taste defeat in 2018 and have picked up an impressive 45 points from a possible 51. This has left the London side in the automatic promotion places and just four games away from calling themselves a Premier League side once again.
Fulham came ever so close last season to gaining promotion to the Premier League as their end of season form saw them make an unlikely push for the playoffs.
A 3-1 win against future Champions Newcastle United started a run of seven wins from a possible ten that propelled them into dreaming of a Premier League return.
A great season ended in disappointment as the team fell short in the playoffs succumbing to a 2-1 aggregate defeat against Reading. But the team showed that they had potential to be a contender next time around.
A slow start
There was a time this season where Fulham were rumoured to be looking at replacing their Jokanovic due to poor results. The team picked up just one win in their first six games and were mediocre until December.
The defeat to lowly Sunderland before Christmas left Fulham in 11th place and six points outside the playoffs. That defeat was arguably the best thing to happen to Fulham this season as the wake-up call of losing to a side who were yet to win a home game in the whole of 2017 would have stung.
Since that defeat to Sunderland, Fulham are yet to taste the bitterness of losing. Make that 20 games without defeat.
Jokanovic deserves credit for, not only turning his sides season around but for the manner in which his team has done so. He and his team could easily have sulked after a poor start to the season – just look at Reading who were the side who beat Fulham in the playoffs last season and now sit in the lower reaches of the table.
Not giving up
But they did not. They responded with 22 goals in seven games and six wins through the end of December and January.
Their January business then allowed them to solidify areas of weakness. Aleksandar Mitrovic was barely given a chance by Rafael Benitez at Newcastle – but the temperamental Serbian striker has scored nine goals in 13 games since joining the Cottagers.
Since Mitrovic joined the team, they have won eleven games out of a possible 14 and soared into the automatic promotion places.
The final road ahead
Fulham have four games left to finish their season but their fate is not in their own hands despite them being in the top two currently. Cardiff have a game in hand on the Cottagers and sit just one point behind them.
But Fulham have four games that are winnable ahead. Brentford and Sunderland travel to the Cottage while they face away trips at Birmingham and Millwall.
The issue Fulham have is that they face three sides who all desperately need points. Birmingham and Sunderland are involved in a hotly contested relegation battle while Millwall are currently fighting for an unlikely playoff berth.
However, it would be silly to bet against Fulham completing an unlikely promotion as they have been rampant since Christmas.
If they can pick up three wins from their final four games, then they should be able to call themselves a Premier League team next season – and it is exactly what the Cottagers deserve.
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