Two of last season's promoted sides do battle at the City Ground on Friday evening, as Nottingham Forest take on Fulham in the Premier League.
Original article published 15 September 2022
Fulham finished two points ahead of Bournemouth to take the Championship 2021/22 title and the Cottagers have made a promising start upon their Premier League return, taking eight points from six games to sit 10th in the table.
After coming through the play-offs to reach the top-flight, Forest have found life a little tougher and four points from their six outings leaves then 19th in the standings.
Nottingham Forest v Fulham
City Ground, Nottingham
20:00, Friday 16th September 2022
|Odds||Nottm Forest 9/5, Fulham 13/8, Draw 11/5|
It is always intriguing to see the transfer strategy used by newly-promoted sides and there is the possibility we will never see the type of activity at a Premier League club ever again like we did at Forest this summer.
Intent on bolstering his squad and making the most of being able to use five substitutes, English tactician Steve Cooper brought in no less than 22 new players - 19 on a permanent basis and the other three on loan deals.
With the huge squad upheaval it is perhaps no surprise to see Forest struggling for consistency and cohesion during the early stage of the campaign, with just one victory and four points collected from their six league matches to date.
Forest are only in the relegation zone on goal difference, so that shows how tight things are, but their performances in the last three matches - all of which have ended in defeat - will be of concern.
Cooper's side only managed one shot on target in a 2-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur before they were then thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium - again only ending with one effort on target.
It is perhaps the manner of the 3-2 loss to Bournemouth last time out at the City Ground that has sparked the biggest worry, as the Tricky Trees were 2-0 up at half-time before conceding three goals after the break to suffer their fourth league defeat of the campaign.
Cooper needs to find a regular starting XI and get some cohesion in his side if they are going to the drop, which they are priced at 4/5 to suffer.
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Fulham's last three Premier League campaigns have ended in misery, finishing 19th, 19th and 18th, but there is real hope they will stay in the top-flight after their early performances this term.
Marco Silva's men have won two, drawn two and lost two of their opening six matches, leaving them 10th in the table and just two points behind Chelsea in sixth.
Those two losses may have come in the last three outings, but they were both narrow 2-1 defeats to table-toppers Arsenal and third-placed Tottenham and there were enough positives to take to be positive moving forward.
Sandwiched in the middle of those defeats was a 2-1 victory at home to Brighton, who were unbeaten heading into that contest, so the Cottagers are not lacking in confidence and playing with freedom.
This looks like a great chance for Fulham to pick up a third victory from their last five league games and they are 10/3 to win by a one-goal margin.
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Serbia international Aleksandar Mitrovic was untouchable in the Championship last season, as he scored a record 43 goals to fire Fulham back to the Premier League, but there was still the question of whether he could replicate those performances in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old's fiery temperament has also been a cause for concern during his previous time in England's top-flight, but he appears to have put any doubts about him to bed with six league goals in as many games this term to leave him second in the division's scoring charts.
Mitrovic has been the driving force for the Cottagers and he will be relishing the prospect of taking on a Forest side who have shipped 14 goals already - the third-worst record in the division.
The Serbian also boasts an impressive record against Forest, scoring four goals from seven previous appearances and he is 6/4 to find the back of the net at any time on Friday, while he is 11/10 to have over 3.5 shots in the game.