The truth be told, when you factor all the advantages and disadvantages that Aston Villa and Fulham are bringing to the table at Wembley stadium on Saturday afternoon, it has the makings of a true 50-50 encounter.
It’s Villa’s experience and defensive organisation vs Fulham’s youthful attacking endeavour. While Villa’s players are Wembley veterans, they have been inconsistent as a team at times this season, while the Wembley novices of Fulham have been the most consistent Championship team of 2018.
Villa can beat Wolves 4-1, then lose 3-1 at home to QPR a few days. Fulham can go 23 games unbeaten, then throw away automatic promotion by getting beat by a struggling Blues team. It all suggests anything could happen in the final.
While Fulham have been the slight favourites with the bookies, MOMS is confident for the play-off final and is actually looking forward to the game.
This confidence is in full flow in the new MOMS podcast episode 46, which hopefully will be out some point today (Friday). in the meantime, Villa’s chances have already discussed in a more casual manner while recording on location in a park (with hilarious consequences) for episode 45.
Listen to it below, if you haven’t already caught up with it.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if Fulham win, Villa have perhaps the bigger potential spectrum of ability, if they do turn up and put on the style.
Many have pointed to Villa’s best chance of winning is in keeping it tight, ala the semi-final against Middlesbrough. MOMS doesn’t necessarily agree. If it turns into an open fire fight, given the proven names in their team, they could repeat at Wembley of Villa’s 4-1 winning performance against Wolves.
Another advantage for Villa, will be the Villa support. If you need a second opinion, just ask Liverpool fans who were drowned out in the FA Cup semi-final in 2015. This time, they’ll be over 6,000 more Villans than three years ago. It’ll certainly be another level above what was on offer at this year’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United.
While Fulham fans have good intentions with their ‘White Wall’ plans, there is often a disparity between a hashtag campaign in the virtual world and what actually happens in stands in the real world.
The fact that Fulham fans who could each buy up to five tickets, meaning their end will no doubt include daytrippers, neutral friends and maybe even Villa fans, may undermine their plans somewhat. You can’t build a vocal following within a week.
Ultimately though, it should be an exciting high stakes game for both sets of fans with two teams that genuinely should be in the current Premier League.
Episode 45 Notes
Aston Villa are now 90 minutes (and maybe some extra-time and penalties) away from a return to the Premier League. My Old Man Said’s David and Dan take the podcast into the great outdoors and enjoy a pre-Wembley detox in a Birmingham park, where the park life literally takes over the show in dramatic effect. Warning: there is strong language!
In a more casual than usual setting, we discuss the fallout from the Boro game at Villa Park – from over-hype, giant invisible flags and pitch invasions – and cast our first impressions look at the date with Fulham (aka the Pimms Sippers) at Wembley Stadium.
We also invent the ‘Giant Emoji Flag’.
This is one podcast, we should have brought an umbrella for…Not animals were harmed in the making of this podcast…honestly.
Since we recorded this show in a park and the band Blur recorded an album called Parklife and the tour for it stopped off at AstonVilla Leisure Centre in 1994 (you may have seen my ticket for it on the MOMS instagram account/ (hear gig here), you can hear the odd Blur homage during the show.
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Enjoy & UTV
David Michael – @oldmansaid
Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr
My Old Man Said – https://www.myoldmansaid.com
Villa Underground – http://www.villaunderground.com
Producer – David Michael