The Serbian striker has had a tremendous start to the season with six goals scored in seven matches. Here are three goals to appreciate his complete skill set

In the past season, Aleksandar Mitrovic scored 43 goals in 44 EFL Championship games, smashing the record previously held by Brentford’s Ivan Toney. If his and Fulham’s numbers were justified by their superiority when compared to last season’s rivals (the Cottagers scored 106 goals across the season, 32 more than the second-best attack), the Serbian is now doing the same in the Premier League, where he already scored six goals in seven matches.

Part of the credit certainly goes to the approach that manager Marco Silva brought since his appointment on Fulham’s bench in the summer of 2021. Even in the Premier League, his team is one of the best at attacking (they have the sixth best attack, better than teams like Chelsea and Man United) and have a very direct style of play, perfectly suiting Mitrovic’s skill set, both as a finalizer and a playmaker.

The first goal he scored this season is a good example of his talent within the penalty box. Being 1.89m tall and not extremely athletic, the Serbian striker has surprising timing on crosses and the ability to jump over defenders. He often hides behind his marker, moving behind his back, slowing the attack in the box. His movements without the ball are always smart and in harmony with the team.

Fulham win a ball back and quickly attack the left wing. Mitrovic chooses not to cut between the two center-backs but to move behind the right-fullback Alexander-Arnold.
Kebano slows down to wait for Tete’s overlap. On the other side of the box, Mitrovic creates separation with the defensive line and calls for the ball on the far post. Alexander-Arnold and Matip are looking at the ball, losing the Serbian striker.
Tete crosses a slow ball to the far post. Mitrovic previously created the space to attack with a layup over Alexander-Arnold, who is passive and ignores the striker’s presence behind his back. Mitrovic eventually beats the goalkeeper with a powerful header.

Mitrovic is very good at using his body to keep defenders away from him and gain an advantage both when he must shoot to the goal and when he needs to link up with a teammate. For example, it is very hard to mark him when he plays with the back to the goal, as he can receive the ball and protect it while waiting for his teammates’ movements to link play.

Mitrovic puts his body in front of Cook, preventing him from anticipating.
Still keeping Cook behind him, he moves to the right where he sees Willian’s movement.
Mitrovic waits for Willian to gain an advantage on his defender and then assists him with an acrobatic touch that is also a testament to his technique.

Mitrovic arrived in England in 2015 as the next big thing in Balkan football. But in the Premier League, he proved to have problems scoring without being assisted by his teammates. And the higher the opponent's level, the more obvious these struggles would become. This season, although the sample is still small, he’s proving to have become a more autonomous striker, able to self-sufficiently create dangerous situations, such as the penalty he won against Van Dijk or the goal he scored against Tottenham.

Mitrovic controls a long ball with his chest, then orientates to the side to get away from Romero and Langlet.
After that, he would have the space to shoot with his left foot – his weak one – with a rather narrow margin. So Mitrovic waits for Romero to get closer, fakes the shot, and beats him with a skillful touch.
By doing this, he creates a better opportunity for a shot on the far post that beats Lloris.

Mitrovic scored a lot both with the Serbian national team and with Fulham, becoming an absolute idol both at a club and national level. He only lacked success in the Premier League, the best championship in the world. This season’s impact was superb and everybody at Fulham hopes it will continue like this.

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