Aston Villa head down to the Capital to take on Fulham in the Premier League at Craven Cottage on Monday evening. Dean Smith’s men will be hoping they can build on their 1-0 victory over Sheffield United last week.
Since the Playoff Final in 2018, the two sets of supporters have formed a bit of a rivalry. And a lot of it is probably down to the media than the actual two clubs. Yes, the defeat in 2018 took Aston Villa on a road that none of us could see coming. In a weird way, it may have just been for the best going by the ambitions of our new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.
The “Doing a Fulham” tag line was formed by the media because Fulham got promoted in 2018, spent a large amount of money to try and improved their squad. It didn’t work for one reason or another, which I am sure Fulham fans will know more about than me.
Fast forward a year and Villa were back in the Playoff finals but this time they were successful and the club was being run much better than it was 12 months before. Just as Fulham did, Villa spent a lot of money. Villa had their reasons, many of the squad that got them promoted either returned to their parent clubs or contracts had ended. The media don’t want to tell you about that though. Instead, they say Villa are “Doing a Fulham“.
Two years on from that original Playoff Final game and both clubs are in the Premier League and I am sure both would agree they are better equipped than they were in the past. Both believe they have learned lessons and improved their squad where it has been needed. Ultimately, we won’t know the outcome of this until the end of the season but I am sure both sets of supporters would agree, on the face of things, the future is bright for their clubs.
Fulham have lost both of their opening two games of the season so far. A 3-0 defeat at Arsenal and then they were involved in a high scoring defeat at Leeds.
Both clubs will look at this fixture as a must-win. A game that could have a big say on how they move forward this season.
Aston Villa will still be without defender Bjorn Engels who has a thigh strain. He remains in the physio room with long term casualties Tom Heaton and Wesley.
Ezri Konsa picked up a strain on his glutes in the win over Sheffield United but he should be fine for the game against Fulham. New signing Bertrand Traore could replace Trezeguet in the starting line up after an impressive debut in the Carabao Cup win against Bristol City.
Scott Parker has no fresh injury concerns for Fulham. Fulham made seven changes for their Carabao Cup game so those who were rested are expected to return.
Referee: Stuart Attwell.
Assistants: Simon Long, Neil Davies. Fourth official: Andy Madley. VAR: Martin Atkinson. Assistant VAR: Stephen Child.
DID YOU KNOW?
If Aston Villa are able to beat Fulham, it will be just the third time they have opened a Premier League campaign with back to back victories. The other two occasions were in 1995/96 and 1999/00.
Fulham have been Villa in six of their last eight meetings, including the last three.
I believe this will be a real test for Villa. As I already touched upon, both teams will look at this as a must-win game if they are to achieve their Premier League goals this season. Villa also have a dreadful record away from Villa Park last season.
I will go with a close away win. Fulham 1-2 Aston Villa