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Can Fulham make promotion?

last updated Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 2:12 PM

Fulham Football Club
It’s not how you start, It’s how you finish.

The Fulham faithful will be hoping that the cliche holds true after a stuttering start to their Championship campaign.

Despite a tough looking opening set of fixtures, only the most pessimistic of Fulham fans would have predicted that the Whites would still be searching for their first League win of the season after 4 games.

The concession of a late equaliser to Norwich, a red card in the first minute against Reading and a broken leg against (dirty) Leeds have not helped the cause, and to be fair 3 draws from those games didn’t look too shabby on paper.

But there were no ready made excuses at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday as Fulham fell to only their 3rd defeat in the last 21 League matches.

3 points from the first 4 games is bad enough to cause meltdown on some of the popular Fulham message boards as a vocal minority have confidently declared that the season is already over.

Whilst these declarations appear alarmist and premature, with expectations running very high, it is clearly disappointing that Fulham are already playing catch up once again after what happened last season.

A quick check on the key betting markets show that some supporters are panicking much more than the bookies though, who still have Fulham amongst the market leaders for promotion.

A look back over the last 10 season indicates that an average of 87 points has been enough to secure 2nd place and automatic promotion – only once in that 10 year period has 87 points not been enough, with Brighton missing out in 2015-16 with 89 points.

So the maths now are pretty simple, with 42 games to go, 84 points are required to virtually guarantee automatic promotion.

An average of 2.00 points per game sustained from now till May is a particularly tough ask in this division, but not beyond Fulham if they can start to replicate the scintillating form shown in the second half of last season.

74 points has been the average points total to secure a top 6 finish across the last 10 seasons – in fact Fulham’s total of 80 points last campaign was the highest amount achieved by any 6th placed team during this period and would have been enough for automatic promotion in 2 of those 10 seasons.

What is undeniable, however is that it is now time for Slavisa Jovanovic’s men to start putting some points on the board.

With an away trip to Ipswich next up (which looked much more straightforward a few weeks ago than it does now) the pressure is beginning to build on the Cottagers to dig out a victory.

It is still a bit early to be talking about must win games and the records show that other teams have had worse starts than this and gone on to be crowned champions, but the importance of getting that first win on the board shouldn’t be under estimated.

Despite Ipswich recording 4 wins from 4 so far, Fulham are clear favourites to win the match according to the early betting odds.

Whilst the current price for a Fulham win at Portman Road (2.32) is too skinny to recommend as a value bet, I fancy that the Whites will get the job done and start the long haul up the table.

A repeat of last seasons 2-0 scoreline in Fulham’s favour makes some appeal at 14.50 and would be my speculative recommendation for a small stakes involvement on the weekend.

Source Paul Browne at tradingtalkblog
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