Fulham's Mitrovic playing for Serbia against Costa Rica

Mitrovic must aim for 15 goals to keep Fulham in the Premier League

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic should target a 15-goal season in the Premier League next campaign, based on a metric assessing Championship top scorers.

According to data tracking the highest scorer from every promoted team since 2016/17, Championship hitmen average 36% of their goal tally in the following top-flight season.

Apply this metric to Mitrovic’s record-breaking 43-goal campaign with Fulham, and the Serbian international should be capable of 15 goals next season, provided he steers clear of injury.

On average, each club top scorer from promoted teams in the Championship manages 36% of his goal tally in the next PL campaign

According to lifelong Fulham fan Sevan Keoshgerian, Mitrovic’s fortune next season will rely heavily on the tactical bravery of manager Marco Silva.

He said: “I think Mitrovic will do a good job next season, but it depends on the tactics we deploy.

“If we are too defensive, there is no way he’s going to score anywhere near what we need him to.

“It’s been far more attacking under Marco than under previous boss Scott Parker, which has obviously suited him.

“Of course, defenders are more physical in the Premier League, but I still think he’s capable of getting around 15 goals.”

The Serbian international’s 43-goal campaign with Fulham was unequivocally the best season total of his career so far

During Mitrovic’s last top-flight campaign in 2020/21, he only found the net on three occasions, as Fulham suffered a second relegation in just three seasons.

Despite starting seven of the first eight games under Parker, the target man ultimately fell out of favour and spent most of the season on the bench as an impact substitute.

Keoshgerian admitted: “Mitrovic is such a confidence player.

“I think his penalty miss for Serbia against Scotland midway that season really took a toll on him.

“He feeds off the crowd loving him and now Silva has tailored the whole team around him.

“That should lead to him doing a lot better in the Premier League next season.”

Mitrovic’s scintillating 43-goal return broke the scoring record for a 46-game campaign, overtaking Guy Whittingham’s tally for Portsmouth in the 1992/93 Football League First Division.

Ivan Toney formerly held the record for the most goals in a Championship campaign, having netted 31 times during Brentford’s promotion surge last year.

Since 2012, no Championship golden boot winner has scored more than 15 goals in their next PL season, excluding Rickie Lambert

Having already surpassed the projected 36% average with two games left to play, Toney has managed to carry his goal-scoring form into the Premier League, netting 12 vital goals to pilot Brentford to safety.

However, the last Championship golden boot winner to score more than 12 goals during the following top flight season was Rickie Lambert almost a decade ago, who netted 15 times for Southampton in 2012/13.

Despite not topping the scoring charts during their Championship seasons, England internationals Patrick Bamford and Tammy Abraham also enjoyed fruitful campaigns after winning promotion.

Leeds forward Bamford hit 17 goals in 2020/21 while Abraham, who returned to Chelsea after a loan season with Aston Villa in the second tier, scored 15 times in 2019/20.

Although Mitrovic’s goal tally will likely prove a crucial factor in keeping Fulham afloat, this season has shown that a natural goal scorer is not necessarily enough to ensure survival alone.

Fulham bounced back to the Premier League in style, accruing 90 points and 106 goals to win the Championship.
(Photo credit: EL Loko via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 4.0 license)

Both Norwich and Watford, who have been relegated already, have double-digit goal scorers in Teemu Pukki and Emmanuel Dennis, despite being the two lowest scoring teams in the league.

In particular, the Canaries struggled to feed Pukki with high-quality chances after their star playmaker Emi Buendia left for Aston Villa last summer.

As creative midfielder Fabio Carvalho sets off to Liverpool at the end of the season, Fulham may well be presented with a similar issue.

According to Keoshgerian, Silva must recruit shrewdly in the transfer window and prioritise getting the best out of their striker.

He said: “If we bring in a few midfielders to support Mitrovic, I think we’ll be okay.

“It would be great to get a couple of defenders in too – I thought Joachim Andersen was a great addition on loan the last time we were in the Premier League.

“But it’s the creative players and the wing play around Mitrovic that’s really important to us.

“Most of the goals he’s scored come from us putting balls in the box and him getting a head on it or tapping it in.

“If we manage to replace Carvalho and get someone else in to compete with Neeskens Kebano, I think we’ll stay up next season.”

Featured image credit: Эдгар Брещанов via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

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Michael keating
Michael keating
15 May 2022 3:31 pm

Mitrovic will be easily marked out of the game by the superior premiership defences.he is great at championship level but not good enough for the premiership.

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