The Villa Appetiser: Fulham v Aston Villa 2018

After a great performance in the derby, it’s a different kind of fixture for Villa to contend with – at a ground we never really do well at.

Positive momentum is with Villa at the moment with 7 straight wins, but Fulham are enjoying an excellent run of form too and are the second best form team in the Championship during 2018.

Now, odds are starting to lower on both Villa and Fulham to be promoted, but this is a game Villa will need to be taking something from to greatly aid achieving their ultimate goal of automatic promotion.

Can we get our 8th consecutive league win at an unlikely venue?

Form

FULHAM

5th in the league table with the 7th best home record.

Last five matches at home: W 5 

VILLA

2nd in league table with 6th best away record.

Last five matches away: W 3, L 2 

Jokanovic on Villa/Bruce

“He (Bruce) is good, it’s a big club and they spend many money and they showed their ambition.

“They improve definitely when we compare this season with last season and at the end now they are in the best moment in the few years they are in the Championship.

“They play with confidence, are organised and strong and Steve Bruce is a coach with many experience in both highest category in English football, he has experience with being promoted with a Championship team and in general he’s made a great job in this moment and it’s fantastic for him.”

“We are always working, at the end they score out of set pieces but after seven/eight times where we give them chance to deliver the free kicks with dangerous players, they punished us with one of these and John Terry score the goal.

“They can be a danger for us in set pieces and can be dangerous in different situations, but for us we try and check everything and we are working to check all the solutions we can find in the game.”

Bruce on Blues victory

“There’s nothing quite like beating your local rivals. It was the manner of it for me, the level of performance that we got to in a big game. We played very very well on the day.

“When you analyse it back it was arguably one of our better performances of the season, in the context of the game.

“It’s gone, it was nice to enjoy it and great for the supporters. It’s another three points on the road to the target we want to achieve.”

and on Fulham

“It’s going to be another tough game tomorrow in a different way because Fulham are a very very good football side. Very very good, who I tipped at the start of the season that are the ones we might have to beat.

“In this particular moment they’re going very well, got some talented players. So it should be a really cracking game down there tomorrow.”

and on promotion chances

“Slowly but surely we hope that we’re turning the tide a little bit.

“We’ve achieved nothing yet. We’re not going to get carried away just because we’ve won the derby.

“We’ve got to be bigger and better than that. We’ve given ourselves an outstanding chance.

“We’ve got 15 games to go.

“We haven’t done anything yet, if we think we’re Real Madrid, we’re not.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep producing the level of performance that we’ve hit over the heights.

“After an awful start consistency wise, we’re looking a very decent team, which is important at this particular time in the season.”

Memory Match

28th December 2005 – Fulham 3 Aston Villa 3 

This six goal thriller saw Villa repeatedly fight back from losing positions to salvage a point. Luke Moore made it 1-1 after an opening goal from Brian McBride but Fulham soon regained their advantage. At 2-1 down in the 60th minute, Ridgewell equalised only for McBride to quickly score a second. Then, in the 76th minute, it was Ridgewell (of all people) who scored again to make it 3-3. Phew!

One to Watch

Aleksandar Mitrović – Signed last month on loan, the striker won promotion with Newcastle last season.

Embed from Getty Images

fulham have only lost one of their last 11 home league games against Villa

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

There’s always a certain stadium that your team never does well at, and for Villa, out of all the Championship grounds, it’s probably Craven Cottage.

Saturday’s opponents have only lost one of their last 11 home league games against Villa (a 2-0 loss in 2010), so the history books certainly aren’t kind in this instance.

Things tend to be better when we face Fulham at Villa Park, but the records tell us that we’ve not achieved a league double over Fulham since the 2009-10 season.

Villa’s momentum could be brought to a halt by worrying injury news, and it seems Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah are doubts for this weekend’s game. It was those players who made the difference against Birmingham City, so it will be tough to find two temporary replacements.

Adomah’s goalscoring form this season has put him up there in terms of the overall Championship records, and only Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp has won more points from goals scored this season than King Albert!

We’ve shown good discipline and concentration in recent matches and this will need to continue on Saturday – Jokanovic’s men have won more points from losing positions than any other side in the league…

On a nine-match unbeaten league run, Fulham are a tough prospect with their own ambitions of promotion.

If that wasn’t enough, Fulham have won six home games in a row…

“They play with confidence, are organised and strong” – jokanovic ON VILLA

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

It’s not too hard to think of reasons why a win could be possible given our tremendous run of form.

As a Villa fan it’s almost strange to write about optimism but our recent performances suggest the tide has truly turned for Villa’s fortunes.

Fulham’s home run is impressive, but a seventh home win on the trot would be the first time that’s happened since 2000.

On that subject, not only was our win against Birmingham City important for bragging rights, it marked our 7th consecutive victory – something we hadn’t achieved since the 1990’s.

You have to go back even further to find the last time we won EIGHT in a row.

That was in the 1974-75 season with Ron Saunders in charge, a season which ended with promotion back to the top flight, appropriately enough.

With Derby’s mid-week defeat, we have a chance to tighten our grip on 2nd place, and need to be mindful of Cardiff who also keep getting results.

Hopefully we can overcome our Craven Cottage troubles for the first time in a while.

UTV.

As well as this week’s new podcast episode, here’s a bonus Fulham vs Villa preview show: