This season we will be gathering the views from our opponents’ local press on their team, progress and hopes for the season. As we prepare to entertain Fulham at The Den in the Carabao Cup Third Round, we have spoken to Ryan O’Donovan, Digital Football Reporter at football.london.
What was your view on Fulham last season?
I thought Fulham started the season extremely slowly, but once they got going they were one of, if not the best side in the entire Championship. Promotion was well deserved on the whole - that 23-game unbeaten run and the Play-Off Final will live long in the memories of Fulham fans.
How would you assess the club’s start to the season and transfer business?
It has been an okay start to the Premier League – there have been some good moments mixed in with some bad ones. Aleksandar Mitrovic's early form has been pleasing, but the defensive issues are concerning. The summer transfer business was good, it provided some genuine class players like Jean-Michael Seri to the side, with the owners giving Slavisa Jokanovic the backing to keep the side in the Premier League this year.
Do you feel Fulham can go on and have a solid season in the Premier League?
I do, yes. I think the side showed last season they were a Premier League side, and with the added firepower I haven't got any doubts that they'll be fine this year. Once the team gets to know one another and Jokanovic's tactics better, I think we'll see a much-better Fulham.
What is the general view towards Slavisa Jokanovic – a man who has already proven a lot in English football?
Largely positive, although fans are sometimes left scratching their heads at some of his team selections - which are quickly becoming known as 'Slav Bingo'. Apart from that, he's got the side playing some of the best football they've ever played whilst getting them promoted to the Premier League. There's a lot of love for the Serbian around Craven Cottage.
Do you think the Carabao Cup is a competition Fulham will fancy their chances of mounting a challenge to win?
I'm not sure about win, but it's certainly an opportunity for the club this season. It's been a while since Fulham have had a cup run, and with the side needing games to gel, this competition provides the best opportunity for some early-season momentum. If it all goes to plan, who knows, maybe a trip to Wembley in the new year may beckon.
Who would you describe as Fulham’s key men?
It's always a tough one when it's the Carabao Cup and sides like to make changes. Jean-Michael Seri has been phenomenal since signing in the summer - you can see exactly why he nearly signed for Barcelona last season, while Aleksandar Mitrovic is the man scoring the goals for fun at the moment. If either of the two play on Tuesday night, they'll without a doubt be the key players for Jokanovic and Fulham.
Do you think the club will be able to establish themselves in the Premier League again and build from here?
I think so, yes. The Khans are giving the backing that is required to keep Fulham in the Premier League, with the ambition this season to stay up and build on next season. They've turned the Jacksonville Jaguars around in the NFL in America, and they have bold ambitions for Fulham. With the backing being provided, I think Fulham will become a name synonymous with the top flight once again.
Your score prediction for Tuesday night?
The Den was a tough place for Fulham to come to last season and they were rocked by that first half. I think it won't be as electric this time around, and with the squad at Fulham's disposal I think I'll go for 2-1 to The Cottagers.