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Aleksandar Mitrovic: How the Fulham striker shattered records as the Cottagers rampaged their way to the title

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic broke Ivan Toney's record for the most goals scored in a Championship season in February, took Guy Whittingham's record for the most scored in a 46-game campaign on Monday, and is now level on 43 with Brian Clough in the all-time charts.

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We take a look at the best goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic's record breaking season in the 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship.

It took him until the final game of the 46, but last season Brentford's Ivan Toney set a new record for the most goals scored in a single Championship season, with 31. With 14 games to play, Aleksandar Mitrovic broke it.

Since 1992/93, Guy Whittingham held the record for the most second-tier goals since the 46 game format was introduced after scoring 42 for Portsmouth. With one game to play this campaign, Mitrovic broke it.

It goes without saying that the Serbian striker will look back on this season as one of the most memorable of his career, not only because of the history he has made, but because it has helped Fulham return to the Premier League, at the first time of asking, once more.

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Fulham lift the Championship trophy as they are crowned league champions following their 7-0 win over Luton Town.

Here, we take a look at how the Cottagers' prized asset rampaged his way into the record books.

The 2019/20 season was a successful one for both player and club, as Mitrovic finished as joint-Golden Boot winner - alongside Brentford's Ollie Watkins - with 26 goals. Fulham pipped the Bees to promotion to the Premier League when they won the Championship play-off final 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley on August 4, 2020.

It was the second-best return of his career and there was no reason to suggest he was incapable of replicating similar form - albeit probably not quite so prolific - on his return to the top flight.

But 2020/21 soon became a slog. He scored one in the Carabao Cup against Ipswich and two goals in a 4-3 defeat away at Leeds in the second league game of the campaign but then failed to hit the net for the best part of seven months until he scored Fulham's only goal in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

Also See:

Most goals scored in a second-tier season in history

Name Club Season Total league goals
George Camsell Middlesbrough 1926/27 59
Derek Dooley Sheff Wed 1951/52 46
Jimmy Hampson Blackpool 1929/30 45
Arthur Rowley Leicester City 1956/57 44
Brian Clough Middlesbrough 1958/59 43
Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham 2021/22 43

In fact, throughout the season, he scored more international goals for Serbia (7) than he did for his club (4).

There is a very clear correlation between his goals and Fulham's success and so Fulham suffered immediate relegation back to the second tier having won only five games and scored just 27 goals.

Serbia did not take part in Euro 2020 last summer, so Mitrovic had an extended period in which to prepare before lining up for the Cottagers' opener against Middlesbrough on August 8.

His immediate impact consisted of nothing more than a first-minute booking in an eventual 1-1 draw on the banks of the River Thames.

But then came the first of many, during a trip to Huddersfield six days later.

With nine minutes on the clock, Terriers goalkeeper Ryan Schofield chested down a long ball forward quite impressively, swung a leg to try and launch the ball upfield, though could only get enough purchase on it to find a lurking Mitrovic, who slipped as he tried to slot home, yet still managed to loop the ball over the line.

Just like that, his magic touch was back. And it was a sign of things to come, as Marco Silva's imposing, well-drilled and deadly side breezed their way to a crushing 5-1 win.

He then converted a Fabio Carvalho pull-back against Millwall, before being left unmarked to head in the opener in a 2-0 win over Hull and then made it four goals from as many games when he mopped up from a yard or so out when Harry Wilson unselfishly squared for his team-mate when arriving into the six-yard box at breakneck speed.

Aleksandr Mitrovic questions a decision during Fulham's home game against Bournemouth

Following the September international break, the Serbian hit six in six games - which included a glorious first-half hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Swansea at Craven Cottage on September 29 - taking his haul to 12 goals in 10 games.

Yet as impressive as that was, a spell between October and November was where he really got going.

A clinical finish on the turn and a superb glancing header he made look easy helped Fulham to a 4-1 west London derby win over QPR, with one more against Cardiff, two more against Nottingham Forest and then another hat-trick, this time against promotion rivals West Brom, just for good measure.

It was no surprise that he triumphed in perhaps one of the most one-sided Sky Bet Player of the Month contests on record as a result.

"I have a lot of quality around me in this team, a lot of creative players who make a lot of chances for me, so I have to thank them for helping me to score as many goals as I did in October," he said upon collecting the award.

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates his first goal against Bristol City

As he referenced there, many of his goals come from inside the box; a flicked header from a cross or a low, composed finish after a free-flowing attack. But he has shown time and time again that he is more than content to set up a team-mate instead, with two assists in a shock 7-0 win over Blackburn on November 3.

Indeed, this selflessness - similar to that of Toney, who got 10 last season - is illustrated by the fact he currently has seven assists to his name, taking his goal involvement figure to 50 in 43 games.

Silva's men returned to the top of the Championship after a 4-1 win over struggling Barnsley on November 17, but then started to go off the boil after they reached the summit, drawing four games and losing one in the lead-up to Christmas.

As mentioned, when Mitrovic struggles in front of goal, Fulham do too - and he scored just once during that stretch. What was more disappointing was the fact Covid-related issues saw them play just three league games between December 11 and January 11.

The lay-off served both player and club well, as he returned with two in a 7-0 demolition of Reading and yet another first-half hat-trick in a 6-2 comeback win against Bristol City.

In spite of the form of their frontman, Fulham have shown that they are much more than a one-man team and there is no over-reliance to speak of. None of the six goals in the 6-2 win over Birmingham were scored or even assisted by him, while they overcame Stoke 3-2 without him in the squad, with Rodrigo Muniz proving himself to be an able deputy.

He tapped in his 28th in a 1-1 draw against Blackpool on January 29 and reached 30 with two in a 3-0 win over Millwall 10 days later. In that game, he first lashed in a Neco Williams pull-back, then mopped up from just a few yards out when Carvalho's shot was parried into his path by Bart Bialkowski.

Williams was the provider when Mitrovic equalled Toney's record in a 1-0 win at Hull, too. The Liverpool loanee floated an inviting ball into the penalty area, where the frontman glanced a header past Matt Ingram from no less than 15 yards out.

In front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday February 19, he missed two gilt-edged chances against Huddersfield to net the all-important goal, but then four days later, he made history.

As struggling Peterborough arrived at the Cottage, days after the departure of manager Darren Ferguson, Mitrovic must have been licking his lips. And, with all eyes on him, he delivered under pressure, slamming home a penalty he won himself with 28 minutes gone.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic set a new scoring record in the Sky Bet Championship with his 32nd league goal of the season for Fulham!

But he was not finished there. He helped himself to a second, connecting with a Neeskens Kebano cross from the left flank and effortlessly finding the net with a nonchalant side-footed volley. A new record had been set for the second time within a year.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Silva said afterwards.

"What I like about him is he's always demanding more and more and more. He knows that from tomorrow I'll demand more and more from him. Mitro's numbers reflect our philosophy and the players have bought into it. We're creating and building something important."

With the best part of three months until the end of the campaign, there was no room to relax. Working to secure the title was the ultimate aim - particularly after the Cottagers had been promoted through the play-offs on the last two occasions.

And, of course, he could not help himself. He scored five in the next nine games, before two in a 3-0 win against Preston on April 19 helped to secure automatic promotion.

Then there was another four days later, when the champagne was put on hold when Dominic Solanke - whose own current haul of 29 would have been enough to win the Golden Boot in 14 of the last 17 seasons - struck a 98th-minute equaliser at the Vitality.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Luton Town.

And as Fulham finally snared the title in style, he muscled his way into the box to score his first in the 7-0 demolition of Luton on Bank Holiday Monday and then coolly tucked home another from a tight angle.

Ahead of the final day trip to Sheffield United, Mitrovic has scored 43 goals in 43 games - an average of one goal per game. Based on that, he should have time to squeeze one more in before he begins to rest up ahead of a top-flight return…

Can Mitrovic finally crack the Premier League?

Sky Sports' Dan Long speaking on the Sky Sports Essential Football Podcast:

"He has been an absolute predator this season, scoring 43 goals from 92 shots on target. He eclipsed Toney's record months ago and has the record for the most goals in a 46-game season now, too. But can he do it in the Premier League? You do get those players who are too good for the Championship and not good enough for the Premier League - for want of a better phrase. Dwight Gayle comes to mind, of course.

"History suggests that he is not going to blow teams away in the same way that he has done this year but, in fairness, he missed 11 games last season and only scored three, so he should be able to better that return.

Aleksandar Mitrovic's Championship vs Premier League record

Division Appearances Goals Assists Minutes per goal
Championship 125 85 16 116
Premier League 104 24 10 286

"Interestingly, every single goal he has scored has come from inside the box this year, so you would think success in that respect will come from whether or not Fulham can deliver those crosses, corners, throw-ins, through balls into the box for him to pounce on and convert. It goes without saying that that is going to be more difficult than it would be in the Championship.

"But it would be nice to see him do well in the Premier League and shake off that label."

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