Match Preview: Aston Villa


Image: Birmingham Mail

Our Focus turns to the third round of the FA Cup this weekend as Fulham entertain Aston Villa at the Cottage. It’s the first time the clubs have met since our famous triumph at Wembley in 2018 but the stakes this time around are completely different with neither side expected to prioritise this competition. It’s all to play for and it’ll be fascinating to see which team wants it more or indeed which team wants it less! 

Head To Head

  • Fulham wins 24 | Draws 22 | Villa wins 23.
  • Fulham have won 6 of the last 9 against Villa.
  • Fulham generally do well in the home time of this fixture. In the past 18 games dating back to 1970, Fulham have won 10, drawn 6 and lost just twice.
  • We have scored at least once in 8 of the last 9 against them.
  • Our cup record including the playoff final against Villa reads: Won 2 | Drawn 1 | Lost 2.

Aston Villa in 2019/20

  • League Position: 17th
  • Form: WLWLW
  • Average Possession: 46.4%
  • Top Scorers: Jack Grealish (8), Conor Hourihane (7), Wesley (6).
  • Discipline: 39 Yellows | 1 Red
  • Clean sheets: 5
  • Both teams have scored in 16 of their 25 matches in all competitions

Players in Common

Image: Julian Finney/Getty

Matt Targett

Fulham: 21 apps, 1 goal (2018)

Aston Villa: 16 apps, 1 goal (2019-present)

Jimmy Allen, Darren Bent, Terry Bullivant, Stan Collymore, Steven Davis, Andrew Ducat, Ray Houghton, Aaron Hughes, Gabor Kiraly, Zat Knight, Eddie Lowe, Ross McCormack, Josh Onomah, Kieran Richardson, Wayne Routledge, Philippe Senderos, Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell, Matt Targett & Bobby Templeton.

Sam’s View (@SamCole2468)

It’s impossible to know which sides Scott Parker and Dean Smith will field tomorrow, the league is obviously the priority, especially with both managers being under pressure to deliver survival/promotion. Villa also have the semi-finals of the League Cup coming up after this tie which again, you’d imagine Smith will have one eye on. But since there’s no way of knowing how weak the two sides will be, I’m going to base my view on both fielding reasonably strong sides with the attitude that winning becomes a habit and will be good for momentum, especially after Parker’s comments about the cup being special to him.

No wins in the entirety of 2020 (A little dramatic considering we have only played one game!) our game against Villa gives us an opportunity to concentrate on something else other than the league. Villa will be looking for revenge with the last meeting being our Play-off final victory, however, both teams have experienced injury set-backs over the Christmas and New Year period.

With Cairney, Mawson, Onomah and Reed all injured, and Hector not available, changes will have to be made after the loss against Reading. Following a very bright cameo in our last match, I think O’Riley deserves a start in midfield replacing Reed. Other changes that I’d expect to be made are Bettinelli coming in for Rodak to give him some game time and Cavaleiro for Knockaert to add some more pace to our front three. I’m hoping Parker opts to play a 4-2-3-1 formation with Cavaleiro on the left and Kamara on the right with Decordova-Reid behind Mitro.

Villa are the Premier League side in this encounter so on paper they are bound to make life hard for us  (assuming Dean Smith opts to play a strong side) especially with Grealish pulling the strings, so our defence will have a big challenge. I really hope to be proved wrong but after the boost that came from Villa’s win away at Burnley and our current home record and our inability to score goals, you have to say Villa are strong favourites and will win 0-2.