In a 'League of their Own': Fulham coasting to the Championship title this season, whilst others fall short

In a 'League of their Own': Fulham coasting to the Championship title this season, whilst others fall short

Last update: 10 February 2022 Tags: Fulham, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Championship, Marco Silva. Categories: Championship.

Featured image courtesy of thewingsofwisdom.com

Looking over Fulham's squad without even knowing their near total dominance of the Championship this season, you would expect Marco Silva's Cottagers to cruise what is a largely competitive division - the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic leading the line, Harry Wilson costing 12 million in total on the wing, a full-back in Antonee Robinson who was very nearly an AC Milan player at one stage. The squad on offer boasts extreme talent, talent that has failed to perform to their highest standards when the Premier League comes calling for whatever reason. But, with their free-scoring ways this season in the Championship - 77 goals scored in just 29 games played - they're finding the second division a bit too comfortable at present.

Whilst their fellow ex Premier League sides have stuttered - both West Brom and Bournemouth sliding down the table after matching Fulham earlier on this season - Fulham have only cemented their position at the top of the tree. Ruthless in their attempts to go straight back up to the big time, The Cottagers have seized upon others stuttering to further show off their superiority. An eight point gap between themselves and 2nd placed Blackburn Rovers, it's looking like a matter of time before Fulham are crowned as league winners.

The main man generating the most headlines for Marco Silva's runaway leaders is their Serbian talisman, Mitrovic scoring 30 goals after only 27 played at the time of writing. Mitrovic is the sort of striker to just pop up with a crucial goal even if he's not integral to the game itself unfolding, quiet for a large portion of the contest before providing the finish to score. He is also a provider for The Cottagers, the first away match of the season saw Mitrovic bundle a goal in before tricky feet allowed him to tee up Ivan Cavaleiro for Fulham's third of the afternoon. This would be the first time Fulham would show off their goalscoring capabilities, turning over a Huddersfield side now in the playoff mix 5-1 on their own patch. Fulham are so hard to contain when they're at their free-scoring best, so many different attacking players for the opposition to keep tabs on. Once you've got the likes of Mitrovic and Wilson under control, the likes of Fabio Carvalho are dazzling for The Cottagers and constant in their attempts to work an opening. The Liverpool target has excelled for The Cottagers this campaign, providing seven strikes of his own in Fulham's grand total of 77 goals.

The Cottagers also have the mettle to push on and win promotion, the likes of Tom Cairney flirting with the Premier League throughout his Fulham career with multiple stints in the top flight as a loyal servant to the West London based club. He knows what it takes to get up to the top flight, and with this current crop of talent he's working with, he'll hope a stay in the Premier League can be maintained if and when Marco Silva's men go up. Neeskens Kebano also provides a wealth of experience alongside obvious talent, the DR Congo midfielder providing eight goals from the wing this season with constant trickery and pace undoing Championship defences. The plentiful attacking options have led to results like Huddersfield away somehow being bettered, Fulham scoring 19 goals over the span of three games in the middle of January. Overwhelming opponents with free-scoring displays, a whole host of goal-scorers getting in on the act against Reading, Bristol City and Birmingham.

Whilst Fulham walked all over opponents with ease, the other challengers near the top of the Championship fell away. Having to deal with a few COVID postponements on their end, Scott Parker's Cherries lost three on the spin with a gutting last gasp defeat at Kenilworth Road sickening for his dejected Bournemouth group. This poor run of results stems from November, Bournemouth struggling for consistency - a 4-0 win against Swansea sandwiched between two poor defeats to Derby County and Preston North End. Fulham supporters would have seen this coming, Scott Parker's reign at Craven Cottage tailing off towards the end. As much as Bournemouth started the season strongly, they've been found out with a squad that equally boasts a lot of talent for the level. Whilst the ex-Fulham manager struggles at Bournemouth, Marco Silva has turned Fulham into a well-oiled, ruthless machine hell-bent on dominating football matches.

West Brom have even had a managerial casualty in among Fulham's ascent to runaway leaders, Valerien Ismael sacked after a string of poor performances and results. Ismael landed his dream signing in Daryl Dike in the transfer window, but with a lengthy injury sustained on his debut back in England after being the star-man for Ismael at Barnsley, he couldn't make the necessary impact to allow the Frenchman to continue at The Hawthorns. Putting all their eggs into one basket with Dike was a dangerous ploy from the get-go, Fulham utilising their attacking arsenal effectively in contrast even if Aleksandar Mitrovic sticks out.

With Fulham winning 3-0 against Millwall last night, their grip on first spot in the Championship shows no signs of slipping. Their nearest challengers are Blackburn Rovers, a side that felt the full wrath of Marco Silva's merciless Cottagers earlier in the season when Fulham put seven goals past yet another opponent. Fulham also have a game in hand over Tony Mowbray's men, top spot very much theirs to lose. The fixture list in February looks kind also, Fulham facing off against relegation-threatened Peterborough United and Cardiff City late in the month with Huddersfield and Hull to play too. Very much in a league of their own at the Championship summit, expect more free-scoring displays from Marco Silva's men this season. It'll be intriguing to see how they cope with the Premier League this time, going into the top flight as one of the most devastatingly effective sides the second tier has ever witnessed.