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Can Anybody Stop Fulham from Marching to the English Championship title?

Even though it's ridiculously early to be jumping to any meaningful conclusions in the 2021/22 season, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Fulham and West Brom are leading the way in the English Championship. The relegated duo have racked up 13 points from their opening five games, and they are among the likes of four second-tier sides to remain unbeaten at this stage.

The history books offer a handy insight as to why supporters of the Cottagers and the Baggies have every reason to feel bullish this term. In the past decade, nine teams have bounced straight back up in the season following relegation from the Premier League – which roughly equates to around 30%. That alone makes Fulham and West Brom’s Championship betting odds for promotion of interest to punters.

Clearly, that percentage increases when we focus solely on those clubs that are well run, where useful players are retained even after a demotion, and where additions that can thrive in the Championship are brought in. West Brom have a quality squad at this level and have added to it with the likes of Alex Mowatt and Matthew Clark. They have trimmed the fat and brought in Valerien Ismael as head coach – his intimidating presence on the touchline led Barnsley to an extraordinary campaign in 2020/21.

However, it’s Fulham who really catches the eye. Scott Parker may be gone, but Marco Silva has done well as a manager in English football and the signs are all pointing to the Londoners being ready for an immediate return to the big time. It’s no wonder they feature so prominently in the Championship betting tips from numerous leading pundits.

A Class Above

With 13 goals scored in those opening five Championship games and just three conceded it’s pretty evident that Fulham are strong in both the attacking and defensive phases of the game. They currently lead the way in the Expected Goals table too, which indicates that they are creating plenty of high-quality goalscoring chances, yielding few, and generally deserving of their place at the summit of the standings.

Of course, it helps when you have a striker in the mould of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who experienced something of a crisis of confidence in the Premier League last term. Nonetheless, the Serbian has performed at Championship level in the past, and four goals in his opening five games this term are evidence of the extra spring in his step that dropping down a grade brings.

Mitrovic needs to be supplied with ammunition, but there's no shortage of creators at Craven Cottage. Bobby DeCordova-Reid, Ivan Cavaleiro, and Josh Onomah have been retained, while exciting rising stars such as Harry Wilson and Fabio Carvalho are notable for their abilities to add a touch of flair and the unknown to proceedings.

A revelation has been persuading Jean Michael Seri to return to the capital. He’s been out on loan at Galatasaray and Bordeaux, not pulling on the white shirt since 2019. Seri’s presence in midfield is a huge coup for Silva.

In defence, Fulham have plenty of reliable characters in the likes of Tim Ream, Tosin Adarabioyo, and Antonee Robinson, who not all that long ago was close to securing an incredible move to AC Milan. In short, the Cottagers could not be in any better shape given their journey in the past 12 months, and at 13/8 they represent excellent value to return to the Premier League as champions.