Fulham finished last season in poor form after losing five of their final six matches and will be looking to rediscover their form quickly in 2013/14. Martin Jol remains at the helm and has worked hard to freshen things up on the field during a summer of change off it - long-time owner Mohamed Al Fayed handed over the reins to Shahid Khan in July. The absolute minimum goal will be to extend a Premier League stay that began in 2001.
Jol has been forced to sell several key players during his time in charge at Craven Cottage and the replacements have frequently been loan signings or free transfers. The Dutchman has still been succeeded in delivering an entertaining team capable of holding its own in the Premier League. Expect the usual mix of thrills and disappointments this season.
Ins and Outs
- Maarten Stekelenburg - Undisclosed
- Derek Boateng - Free
- Darren Bent - Loan
- Mark Schwarzer - Free
- Corey Gameiro - Free
- Alex Smith - Free
Taarabt was part of the Queens Park Rangers team that was disastrously relegated last season, finishing bottom of the Premier League. The Moroccan showed flashes of genius but will need to add consistency to his game if he is to show he can be a key player in a successful top-flight team.
Berbatov might not be the typical talisman with his languid approach to forward play but few doubt his importance to this team. The Bulgarian fired home 15 Premier League goals in his debut season for the Cottagers and he will be expected to produce a repeat if Fulham are to enjoy a strong campaign.
The years continue to tick by but Hangeland remains composed in possession and a threat at set-pieces. Of course, the Norwegian's most important role is defending the Fulham goal and the skipper is a formidable opponent for any striker with his strength, height and intelligent reading of the game.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fulham have plenty of quality in the final third with Adel Taarabt joining Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz. Creativity aplenty then for the Cottagers but supporters might be willing to trade a little flair for some goals and Berbatov will surely need more support in that department. Steve Sidwell might be forgiven for having similar reservations about the potential lack of support he will receive in midfield when it comes to closing down the opposition.
Jol has bolstered the defence with the acquisition of Fernando Amorebieta, while the permanent signing of Sascha Riether will delight supporters. Maarten Stekelenburg looks a shrewd replacement for Mark Schwarzer in goal and Derek Boateng is an asset in the middle. A season-long loan has also been agreed for Darren Bent to give Jol the extra striker he needs.
"We need pace and a little bit of quality. Berbatov was good, but he can't do everything and we needed to get in behind. We need a few more goals. Since Clint Dempsey left we do not have enough goals in us."
"Everyone's got to work for the team. It doesn't matter who you are, you can't be lazy, everyone's got to put the work rate in. I'm sure the gaffer is going to emphasise that to players this season. If they don't I'm sure he'll pull them up."
Facts and Figures
Dimitar Berbatov scored the first goal of the game more often than any other player in 2012/13
No player made more goal line clearances than Sascha Riether in 2012/13
Fulham gained the fewest points from losing positions all season, a league-low.
Brede Hangeland had the best success rate percentage of any player to make 100 headers
Fulham suffered the joint-longest run of consecutive home defeats in the PL in 2012-13
People always have concerns about Fulham, but every season they seem to do well. You always feel as if they're not doing very much and then you look at the league table and they're in the top 10. They're a strange team really. Martin Jol has got plenty of experience and has been there a couple of years now, but I'd like to see them buy a couple more players before the season starts. There's been a lot of talk about Darren Bent and I think he'd be a really good signing for them. I don't see them going down and if they end up in trouble I'm sure they'll get out of it..