Within four games of this Premier League season, Fulham are beginning to get comfortable in their new surroundings and are understanding what it takes to claim three points at this level. A 13th place position in the table isn’t all too bad for a newly promoted side, but Slavisa Jokanovic knows that his side will have to do better to survive at this level. Still, there have been plenty of players paying early dividends at the club. Let’s take a look at four of those key contributors.
Let’s be blunt about this. If Fulham’s record signing didn’t produce instantly, the environment surrounding Seri and the club would not have been a kind one whatsoever. Instead, Seri has instantly showed what he has delivered for Nice over the past two seasons and has continued his otherworldly production at Craven Cottage. An out-and-out number eight, the Ivorian International has already produced a goal-of-the-month screamer against Burnley followed by a beautiful chip pass for Andre Schürrle’s goal against Brighton. Along with that, his tackling has increased as well while trying to provide defensive cover.
If there is one thing that has decreased, it is his dribbling prowess, but that might have to do with having to share roles and responsibilities with Tom Cairney in terms of attacking creativity. Still, Seri has been putting on a masterclass in midfield and some are already arguing that he is the greatest midfielder to ever put on a Fulham kit in Premier League history.
This, my friends, is what a leading Premier League scorer’s radar looks like. I repeat, because it bears repeating. ALEKSANDER MITROVIC IS TIED FOR THE LEAGUE LEAD IN GOALS. Whether he can sustain this production the rest of the campaign is a story all onto itself. But for now, let’s enjoy the fact that Mitrovic is maintaining his level of success from his second half loan spell last season and is hitting the prime of his career as a genuine world class center forward.
As of now, Mitrovic’s xG total is a 2.9, which is only bettered by Callum Wilson and Mohamed Salah. It’s still early days this Premier League season, and eventually he will have to get involved a tiny bit more on the creativity side of his game to open up the rest of Fulham’s attack. But for now, Mitro truly is on fire.
Jean-Michael Seri might be grabbing all the attention in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Tom Cairney playing well in his usual number 10 roll either. The Fulham captain is still a strong passer of the ball despite moving up a division and having better teammates around him. Luciano Vietto may have more key passes, plenty of other Fulham players dribble more than him and Seri is better at pinging long ball passes, but there’s still not many that can be counted upon to put that all together in a complete package from midfield. It is that alone as to why Cairney is indispensible for Fulham and why he is truly missed while recovering from his ankle injury.
I could talk about Andre Schürrle and his ridiculous output against Burnley. I could talk about Maxime Le Marchand being the only Fulham defender to play all four games. But instead, I’m going to talk about Fulham’s most creative player these past four games. And boy was that a wierd sentence to write about.
Let’s be honest. You did not expect Vietto to make anywhere near the impact he has had out wide this season. It’s as if a brand new player was born while moving to Southwest London. Already, Vietto is one assist away from matching his highest total (3) for any European league campaign. Along with that, he is leading all Fulham players in expected assists. That’s right, his 0.87 expected assists are 0.01 better than Seri and 0.24 better than Cairney. Simply put, this was just never something that was on full display by Vietto during his time in Spain.
Now Vietto also has never had a campaign where he has generated higher than 0.26 per 90 minutes, nor has he been as successful of a dribbler since his 1.52 per 90 minutes output like he had in his 12 goal season at Villareal at age 20. The job’s not done just yet, but at age 24, Vietto is turning back the clock and reminding La Liga fans what they have been missing.