Premier League teams have begun their pre-season as they prepare for what is billed as one of the most hectic football years ever. It is the first time the World Cup will take place mid-season between November and December. Amidst all of this, the newly promoted teams will look to take advantage and survive in the Premier League.
Fulham and Bournemouth have been in the league before, but Nottingham Forest are back after a long spell away from the top tier of English football. Below are three players, one from each team, who are talismans for their respective clubs. These players are exciting and have varying degrees of experience. These players are also smart options for your Fantasy Premier League teams.
#1 Aleksandar Mitroviç - Premier League flop?
Fulham's 27-year-old striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is an enigma. The player made his Premier League debut during the 2015-2016 season for Newcastle United and spent three seasons at the club. One of those seasons was also spent in the Championship when Newcastle were relegated. In 65 appearances for the club, he has scored 14 goals.
In January 2018, he moved to Fulham in the Championship and made an instant impact. As per stats, the Serbian scored 12 goals in 20 games as Fulham earned promotion to the top flight. Since then, Mitrovic has spent four seasons at Fulham- two in the Premier League and two in the Championship. In the top flight, he has made 64 appearances, scoring 14 goals and providing six assists.
In the second tier, he has made 85 appearances scoring 69 goals and providing nine assists. Last season, Mitrovic scored 43 goals, a Championship record, as Fulham won the league. Unfortunately, Mitrovic hasn't been as successful in the Premier League as fans would have hoped. To ensure Fulham don't get relegated again, the Serbian needs to carry his form from the Championship into the top-tier.
#2 Dominic Solanke - Breakthrough season
24-year-old Dominic Solanke came up through the ranks at Chelsea and is a Cobham graduate. He failed to make an appearance for the club in the Premier League and was sold to Liverpool in 2017. He made 21 appearances for Liverpool, scoring two goals and providing two assists. Bournemouth bought the player in 2019.
He has made 42 appearances for Bournemouth in the Premier League, scoring three goals and providing two assists. In 2020, the team was relegated to the Championship and Solanke has flourished ever since. He has made 88 appearances over the past two seasons, scoring 44 goals and providing 18 assists.
Scott Parker will be hoping that his striker can replicate his Championship form. Solanke has developed over the last two seasons, and Cobham graduates tend to do well in the top flight. Only time will tell whether Solanke can follow in the footsteps of Tino Livramento and Marc Guehi, among others.
#3 Brennan Johnson - Rising star
21-year-old Welsh attacking midfielder Brennan Johnson had a stellar breakthrough campaign season. In his 49 Championship appearances for the club last season, Johnson scored 18 goals and provided 10 assists as Nottingham Forest won the Play-Off final to get promoted. He recently signed an extension at Nottingham Forest amid active interest from other teams.
For Forest, the goal will be simple- to survive in the league. They will seek encouragement from the likes of Sheffield United, Brentford, and Leeds United, who had great first seasons back in the top flight. Johnson will be a key component of this team, and he will need to perform if they want to finish above the bottom three.