Aston Villa’s recent improvement in form, bar the Wolves performance, was further cemented with a 2-1 win against a tricky Fulham team, that finally lifted Villa into the Championship play-off places.
Fulham, who came to Villa Park with the second best away form in the division, were perhaps one of the handful of real threats to Villa going unbeaten at home throughout the whole season (something that Villa should aim to achieve).
The performance was a marked improvement on recent matches. There was more intent going forward when they had possession and evidence of a higher press off the ball.
Although Villa did sit a little deep at times towards the end.
John Terry got off the mark with a powerful header from a fine Conor Hourinhane free kick delivery. A Stefan Johansen free kick provided Fulham with the equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but Albert Adomah took advantage of a Jonathan Kodjia miss kick to score the winner.
All in, the perfect tonic to go into the match against the Blues next week.
— MY OLD MAN SAID (@oldmansaid) October 22, 2017
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Fulham
Sam Johnstone – 7
Business as usual for Johnstone, who has impressed all season. His big moment was being alert to save at point-blank range shortly after Adomah had put Villa 2-1 up.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
Not as involved as usual and didn’t have much impact when it came to going forward.
John Terry – 7.5
Another decent display by the Villa captain, who was in the wars a couple of times picking up knocks. His vital blocks and tackles in the second half snuffed out Fulham’s attempts at getting anything from the game.
His big moment was his first Villa goal in the first half, the first non-Chelsea league goal of his career.
James Chester – 6
Another steady performance from Chester and statistically Villa’s most tidy player in possession.
Alan Hutton – 7
Again, did well out of position. There can be few complaints with his performance, as he got stuck in at the back and got on the end of a couple of corners in Fulham’s box.
Glen Whelan – 6
Clumsy and reckless in giving away the freekick that led to Fulham’s equaliser. A question mark remains whether he’s still a dynamic force, but he did break up play with a couple of key interceptions. He also had the highest pass completion of the midfield, which may surprise some.
Robert Snodgrass – 7
Teased the Fulham backguard with a few crosses, but it was his midfield colleagues that perhaps took centre stage in this game.
Conor Hourihane – 8 MOTM
Was in the thick of the action at both ends. Shots, key passes, tackles, it was a complete midfield performance, as he saw the most of the ball of any Villa player. He may not have scored a hat-trick like he did against Norwich, but he rubber stamped his potential importance to the team for the rest of the season.
Josh Onomah – 8
At the heart of anything that Villa did well, as they showed some progressive possession going forward, especially in the first half. Looked to open up the Fulham defence with clever paces when possible. Also, got plenty of tackles in too, to prove he’s an all-round midfield option.
Jonathan Kodjia – 7
Constantly gave Fulham something to think about and was a nuisance, even if he ultimately had no end product. You had to laugh that he only got an assistant, because it came from a miss-kick when fluffing a shot.
Albert Adomah – 7.5
Back amongst the goals with the winner after a dry couple of games. Will certainly take a goal from a mistimed effort from Kodjia, after his teammate failed to lay him off in the Bolton game. Flighted in a beautiful ball that almost saw De Laet add a third to Villa’s tally.
Off the Bench
Davis (73) – 6
Did a job when he came on in giving Villa a threat and had a few moments of taking the game to the visitors, before Villa started to sit deep and hang on.
de Laetat (81) – 7
Looked good when he came on and was keen to get forward too. Almost scored Villa’s third when he got on the end of Adomah’s cross to force a decent save from the Fulham keeper.
Bjarnason (86) – NA
Only touched the ball three times, so unfair to judge for his five minutes or so.