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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Premier League preview 2018/19 - Fulham: Slavisa Jokanovic's men can excel on top flight return

Richard Jolly is analysing all 20 teams competing in the Premier League and giving his verdict on how they will fare. Here he looks at how Fulham will perform after promotion via the play-offs

Slavisa Jokanovic has the challenge of keeping Fulham in the top flight. Reuters
Slavisa Jokanovic has the challenge of keeping Fulham in the top flight. Reuters

State of play: When Fulham only won four of their first 17 league games last season, they were rank outsiders to win promotion.

Yet a play-off final triumph was deserved reward for the fine football they have played over the last few years. They should retain passing principles: they may hope to end their habit of making slow starts to seasons.

Their squad is in a state of flux though in Aleksandar Mitrovic, prolific while on loan at Craven Cottage, Jean-Michel Seri and the World Cup winner Andre Schurrle, they have made three high-calibre recruits.

The questions revolve if the defence is good enough. Signing Alfie Mawson will help on that score.

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Read more

Premier League 2018/19 preview: Team-by-team guide and predictions

Premier League transfer window: all the new signings for 2018/19 season

Tom Cairney's goal sends Fulham back to the Premier League

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Key player: Jean-Michel Seri – It ranked as a coup when Fulham signed the Nice midfielder, who almost joined Barcelona in 2017. It indicated Fulham’s ambition and sets up the chance of a formidable combination with the captain Tom Cairney, a passer who should benefit from Seri’s athleticism alongside him.

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Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic – Finally managing in the Premier League, three years after he took Watford up. It is a sign of how well the Serb has done that he was linked with the Chelsea job. The attacking, passing football he plays could certainly attract bigger clubs. It should also stand Fulham in good stead.

Talking point: Can Ryan Sessegnon take the Premier League by storm? If Fulham had not gone up, the chances are that the precocious 18-year-old would be in the top flight by now.

Sessegnon was named as the Championship’s player of the year after scoring 15 goals last season in a campaign he began at left-back, although most came following his move forward to play as a left winger following Matt Targett’s January arrival.

With left-back Maxime le Marchand joining, it is time to see if the quick Sessegnon can torment better defences from a more advanced role. He could represent a genuine threat on the counter-attack.

Prediction: 12th.

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