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OPPOSITION IN FOCUS: FULHAM

13 June 2018

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Fulham celebrate promotion to the Premier League at Wembley Stadium.

Our rundown of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League opposition for the 2018/19 campaign continues with newly-promoted Fulham.

League Position 2017/18: Sky Bet Championship - 3rd (promoted via the play-offs)

Top league goalscorer: Ryan Sessegnon

How did they do last season? 

Having lost out to Reading in the play-off semi-finals at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, Slavisa Jokanovic guided the side back to the same stage last season and then onto a victory over Aston Villa in the final after four years away from the top flight. 

The 1-0 win at Wembley Stadium came courtesy of a first-half strike from Tom Cairney, completing a remarkable turnaround in a campaign which had seen the Whites occupy 17th place in the division back in November. 

After four victories in their opening 17 league games, the side went on a run which saw them lose just twice in 28 matches, propelling the Cottagers up into the top six at the end of January – eventually missing out on automatic promotion by just two points.

Highlights included a 5-4 away victory over Sheffield United and a 6-0 home win against Burton Albion.

Who’s in charge?

Slavisa Jokanovic led Watford to the Premier league in the 2014/15 season before departing the Hornets at the end of the season.

Jokanovic then masterminded Fulham’s return to the Premier League last year, having arrived at Craven Cottage at the end of 2015.

As well as those posts in England, the former FR Yugoslavia player has taken charge of Partizan Belgrade, Muanthong United, Levski Sofia, Hercules and Maccabi Tel Aviv in his managerial career. 

Jokanovic has overseen 130 games as Fulham manager, winning 61 and drawing 34 – giving him a 46.9% win ratio. 

Who should I keep an eye out for? 

Ryan Sessegnon attracted plenty of admiring glances during an eye-catching season that saw him manage 15 league goals and end the campaign as the side’s top goalscorer across all competitions.

One of many highlights of the season for the youngster was his hat-trick in the 5-4 win away to Sheffield United, in what was his 50th appearance in a Fulham shirt – it also made him the first 17-year-old to score a hat-trick in the top four tiers of English football since Dele Alli in 2014.

Sessegnon picked up five awards at the campaign’s end, winning the Championship Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season and Apprentice of the Year, as well as being named in the Team of the Season and the EFL’s Club Developed XI.

How have we fared against them in the past? 

The Seagulls have won on each of their previous three visits to Craven Cottage.

With Nathan Jones in temporary charge in 2014, following Sami Hyypia’s departure, the Seagulls, who sat near the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship, made the trip to south-west London.

Albion were without a victory in seven matches, having only won a single away match all season, but Jones masterminded an impressive 2-0 win over the Cottagers after Christmas. 

In the opening month of the following campaign - now with Chris Hughton in charge - the Seagulls visited Fulham in their second game of the season. 

Goals from Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed cancelled out Tom Cairney’s first-half goal to give Albion all three points. 

The Seagulls took a 17-game unbeaten run in the league to Craven Cottage the following season.

Fulham were awarded a penalty in the 15th minute, but Albion keeper David Stockdale made a heroic save to keep out Stefan Johansen’s spot-kick.

Despite the stop, the Seagulls found themselves behind in the 55th minute when Lucas Piazon fired home for the Cottagers, which put Albion’s unbeaten run under threat.

But then came a crazy two-minute spell which flipped the game on its head, as Hemed scored from the penalty spot and Lewis Dunk charged up field to head home after a stunning Albion break.

It was the second time the Seagulls had come from a goal down to win against Fulham during the 2016/17 campaign, and the away victory was another crucial moment in the club’s quest for promotion.


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