The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Fulham 2017

A win in last weekend’s derby would have sent out a message to the rest of the league, and after a run of league victories, there was definitely cause for optimism.

Despite a decent start to the game and a credible performance by Alan Hutton in an unfamiliar left-back role, we were eventually swept aside by Wolves, and our performance called to mind the early season defeats rather than recent high-scoring away displays.

Whether it’s a one-off result, remains to be seen, but certainly Villa’s upcoming game against Fulham is a tricky one to predict for your footy accas, as Fulham boast the second best home record in the Championship.

Bruce on Wolves defeat / Fulham

“We have to try and erase the defeat, it happens and we have to accept they were better than us on the day.

“Fulham is another game and we need a big and better performance against a very good side.

“Nobody likes to lose to local rivals, the Championship is just starting, winter is upon us and there are some tough games ahead.

“There is a long way to go and things are just taking shape. We seem to have our worst performances after international duty and we seemed tired.

“There is another big game coming up tomorrow and Fulham are very decent, particularly away from home.

“They have very good players on the counter attack and if we allow them to play we will be in trouble.

“We will be mindful of their habit of scoring late goals.

“Hopefully a result tomorrow will take us in the top six.”

Jokanović on Villa

“Villa have a lot of dangerous and quality players, they can resolve the game with some individual action.

“At the same time, they are a very strong team in set pieces and I don’t expect they will be a team that will dominate us and find a solution after a long attack and for us we must be ready.

“We know what we are going to find, we must be available when we lose the ball and find a good starting position for when the more offensive Villa players start to run with the ball and looking for space behind us, this is their traits.

“We know what they are and we believe we know what their weaknesses are and we make a few sessions where we were talking about them and I believe my team are in form and know what we can find during the game.

“We must be ready for some surprises too because you cannot predict everything and we are going there with ambition and determination to win the game.”

Memory Match

22nd Oct 2016 Villa 1 Fulham 0

A moment of magic from Kodjia secured three points when we met at Villa Park last season.

Villa – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 2

Fulham – Last five matches away: W 3, D 1, L 1

One to Watch

Stefan Johansen – the Norwegian midfielder has created 31 chances for his Fulham teammates this season – more than any other midfielder in the league.

Embed from Getty Images

fulham have won four of their last six league matches against Villa

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Like Villa, Fulham had a slow start to the season, but they’ve improved during the opening few weeks.

Now ninth and eyeing a place in the top 6 after last year’s play-off semi final defeat, their away form is good – it’s the currently the second best in the league and they’ve won three of their last five away games.

Our defeat at Wolves may have had the effect of ruining the momentum we were quietly building. In his press conference Bruce mentioned how there’s a need to “erase” last weekend’s loss, but it’s not quite that simple. With Taylor still unavailable and Kodjia yet to rediscover his goal-scoring form, it won’t be easy for Villa.

In the league table, there are several teams within just three points of our position, so the Championship is becoming typically competitive. If we slip up against Fulham we could find ourselves drifting down the league, which would feel like a return to square one.

Having found themselves 2-0 down away at Preston, Fulham recovered to draw 2-2. Denis Odoi’s 96th-minute equaliser was the fourth successive league game in which Fulham have scored a goal in the 85th minute or later. Full concentration will be required.

Frustratingly, Fulham have a very decent record against Villa in recent encounters too. They’ve won four of the last league games against us, and if they were watching last Saturday’s game, could be confident of doing so again…

“We know what they are and we believe we know what their weaknesses are – Jokanović on VILLA

 



Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

As disappointing as the Wolves defeat was, it wasn’t a huge surprise given the respective home and away form of both sides.

Like us last season, Wolves have spent heavily in their quest for promotion, and our away record still leaves a little to be desired, despite the wins over Barnsley and Burton.

At Villa Park though, it’s a different story. We’re unbeaten in eight home league games having lost just one in our last 14 matches at Villa Park.

More specifically, we’ve only lost one of our last 16 home league games against Fulham – a 2-1 Premier League defeat in April 2014. Yes, that was the game in which Grant Holt equalised for Villa, after Kieran Richardson opened the scoring for Fulham…

So far this season Kodjia has only scored once (his penalty against Bolton), but on the substitute’s bench, Hogan could make a difference. Certainly the history books suggest so – Hogan has been involved in three goals in three Championship appearances against Fulham (two goals, one assist).

Despite our shortcomings so far this season, we’re still 7th, and could find ourselves in the top six if results go our way.

We need to get back to winning ways in preparation for the big derby next weekend.

Hopefully we can prove that last weekend’s defeat at Wolves was just an off day for Villa.

UTV.

Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

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