Aston Villa’s defeat at playoff hopefuls Fulham made it three games without a win and questions are starting to be asked about certain players.
It was never going to be easy heading down to the Capital to play against a side who has everything still to play for when the only thing you have forward to look to is a local derby with your rivals but when your star striker gets sent off and leaving you with that challenge for two quatres of the game – you know you are in for a long afternoon.
The home side got off to a quick start and it wasn’t long before they were testing Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. Scott Malone and Ryan Fredericks were causing problems down both wings. Sone Aluku comes close on 17 minutes but was denied by the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper and a just a few moments later Slavisa Jokanovic’s side were in the lead.
Fredericks once again exploited Villa on his flank and his cross picked out 16-year-old wonder kid Ryan Sessagnon on the far post. The teenagers shot reflected back off the cross and he was able to beat the Villa defenders to force it home at the second attempt.
Things got even worse for Steve Bruce’s men when Kodjia was sent off a few minutes later. The former Bristol City striker tried to beat Fredericks but found himself dragging the defender to the flaw.
Fredericks caught Kodjia with his book as he hit the floor and the Villa striker reacted with what looked like a ‘slight kick’ to the ribs. The decision to show the goal-scorer a red card may have been harsh but he should never have put himself or his team in that position.
It was hard to see beyond the home side taking full control of the game but Aston Villa has other ideas. Jack Grealish has been questioned by some of the Villa faithful recently but he had the 5,000 travelling supporters on their feet early in the second half.
The 21-year-old stepped inside onto his right foot on the corner of the Fulham box and curled a brilliant shot beyond Marcus Bettinelli.
It wasn’t level for long and on their next attack, Floyd Ayite crossed from the left and Aluko acrobatically hooked the ball towards the goal. The ball took a deflection off the face of Nathan Baker and beyond Johnstone to make it 2-1.
Neeskens Kebano bagged all three points when he took in a pass from former Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen on the right-hand side of the box and drilled a shot into the far corner.
Another win for Fulham puts them in with a great chance of making the playoffs as other results went their way as Villa appeared to be on their summer holidays as once again a below par performance disappointed travelling supporters.
Steve Bruce will have to somehow motivate his under-performing players before next week’s local derby or both players and management could face a backlash from certain sections of the Aston Villa supporters.