With Fulham’s fate hanging in the balance and with many predicting that the Cottagers’ Premier League days are numbered, Saturday’s game offers the Villans the perfect opportunity to grab three points.
The Villans must take to the pitch in the belief that they can win this game in a comfortable manner, despite the nervy atmosphere that this fixture is destined to create. Prior to the last disappointing couple of weeks, the players have shown that they can deliver convincing performances and they desperately need to deliver this Saturday.
There is little doubt that this match will be difficult, with the visitors fighting for their lives. However, this Villa team can thrive on the pressure and seize the opportunity to steer clear of the bottom six and begin to look upwards rather than down.
The 4-1 Norwich victory stands out in my mind as we gained a momentum which brought four goals that ultimately knocked Chris Hughton’s players off their feet. If we pile pressure on Fulham’s back four as we did against Norwich then you have to fancy us to score, bearing in mind that Fulham have conceded seventy-four goals so far this campaign.
With Villa’s defensive issues all too apparent in the last two games, I’m hoping for a huge improvement in our defensive department and expect to find evidence that the errors which have seen us concede eight goals in two games have been addressed.
Lambert needs to rally his team for this game. The deflation caused by the previous two results needs to be banished for us to have any real opportunity, as tentative performances from players will cause errors that could prove to be very costly.
I’m also hoping that Lambert will make changes. In particular, I would like to see Matt Lowton re-introduced at right-back after a tough couple of weeks for Leandro Bacuna. I would also like to see Andi Weimann dropped due to his invisibility of late. Fresh faces could prove to be a positive factor. I expect Nathan Baker and Karim El Ahmadi to make the starting line-up if they can overcome their respective injuries and would welcome the work-rate and commitment they can add to the side.
If there is a repeat of the side’s agonising 2-0 defeat to the Cottagers back in December then I fear that we may be sucked right back into the dreaded relegation battle so here’s to three points.