In terms of the Championship, no game so far this season, perhaps offers up the possibility to shape the promotion picture for the end of the season, than the clash between Fulham and Aston Villa.
It’s the first sign, we’re getting to the business end of the season and this is the second of three games, MOMS previously cited as key to Villa’s automatic promotion hopes.
Both teams make up the top two in the 2018 Championship form table. Villa are top with six out of six wins and 18 points, with Fulham two points behind, with five wins and a draw.
So far, this year, both teams have even out-performed runaway Championship leaders Wolves.
Craven Cottage hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Villa though, with only one win in their last 11 visits. Villa fans used to at least be able to have a laugh at the Michael Jackson statue, but even that’s gone now (currently housed at the National Football Museum in Manchester), so they’ll be extra keen to get three points this time round.
Both Villa and Fulham were fancied at the start of the season to make an impression on the promotion places, but both teams have took time to get motoring.
The upcoming game at Craven Cottage could have huge consequences for momentum, if either team wins it.
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The good news for Villa is Fulham have to play most of the main Championship promotion candidates straight after this weekend’s game in consecutive games.
21st Feb – Bristol City (A)
24th Feb – Wolves (H)
3rd Mar – Derby (A)
6th Mar – Sheffield United (H)
10th Mar – Preston (A)
It would be a tough call for Fulham to remain unbeaten through this period, never mind win them all, but Fulham will certainly take points off Villa rivals. So, with a 10-point buffer over Fulham, as long as Villa keep picking up decent points themselves, Villa should be in a healthy position come Easter.
However, if Fulham beat Villa, then they cut Villa’s lead over them to just four points. Of course, they’d have their work cut out catching Villa anytime soon, considering their next few fixtures, but it would certainly keep Villa within their sights and also do Derby County and Cardiff City a big favour.
With Albert Adomah and Jack Grealish touch and go for the Craven Cottage clash, Fulham certainly fancy their chances of extending their six-game winning streak at home.
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