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The strange case of Aleksandar Mitrovic: football specialist in the second division

Much is often said about the differences between the championship and the Premier League, and the class gap that exists between the two.

Arguments can be put forward one way or the other, but the bottom line is that all three promoted players from the second division have only survived relegation from the first division once in the last ten years – 2017/18 to be precise. Players will often have difficulty moving up in the class as well, as those who are successful at the championship level will not be able to replicate their success at the top table in English football.

The perfect example of this is Aleksandar Mitrovic, who tears up again in the second division. He has already scored 20 goals in just 17 games, making him a newcomer to the top scorer award, and his Fulham side are now a hot favorite in the world Chances of winning the championship winners 21/22 at a price of only 4/5.

It’s also easy to forget that the 27-year-old is the Serbian national team’s all-time top scorer. and even scored a winner for his country in a World Cup qualifier against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Premier League goal? Well the Fulham man is prone to loosening up. His 21 top division goals came in 6,878 minutes of play, or once every 327 minutes. That equates to one goal every 3.64 games, which is just not good enough for a striker at the highest level. What is it that Mitrovic has so hard to overcome in the Premier League?

Fox in the box

As a muscular six feet eight, the Serb has the physical dimensions to terrorize opposing defenders. But to call him a one-trick pony would be completely wrong, as Mitrovic is a player with the intelligence and cunning to get himself in the right place at the right time – all 20 of his championship goals this season came from inside the box .

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Mitrovic scored mostly with his stronger right foot and has headed 20% of his league goals this season – that shows his ability to run in the penalty area, take a meter on his marker and then nod the ball home.

All of this leaves you wondering why he seems to be struggling in the Premier League, as all of the traits described here are transferable skills that should guide him through grade levels – for example, he has only scored four fewer goals for Serbia than Harry Kane in the same Age for England.

Maybe, just maybe, we have to blame his teammates. We know Mitrovic is a fox-in-the-box style striker and that’s why he needs the supplies from his colleagues to get the ball into the net.

And it’s noteworthy that in his three full seasons as a Premier League striker, the 27-year-old has played on three teams relegated this season – Fulham (twice) and Newcastle United.

So could we argue that Mitrovic would be productive in a better Premier League-class team? His Fulham teammates have shown that once they find their level they are capable of delivering the ammo for the deadly shooter.

Mitrovic may have to move to a bigger club in order to fully realize its potential at the top level.

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