Preview: Fulham vs. Aston Villa

Preview: Fulham vs. Aston Villa

Fulham and Aston Villa will both be looking to avoid a fourth successive Premier League game without a win when they face off at Craven Cottage on Thursday night.

While the hosts have picked up eight points from five home matches so far this season, the visitors are winless from as many games on the road, accumulating only two points.

After losing three of their last four top-flight matches, conceding 11 goals in the process, Fulham came from behind twice to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth last weekend.

Issa Diop scored his first goal for the club to cancel out an early opener from Dominic Solanke, before Jefferson Lerma put the Cherries back in front just before the half-hour mark. However, star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic converted from the penalty spot seven minutes after half time to force both sides to share the spoils.

Marco Silva’s men have won only one of their last five league matches and have subsequently slipped out of the top half of the table and down to 11th place, but a victory over Aston Villa on Thursday could see them climb up to as high as sixth.

Fulham’s run of three fixtures against Villa, Leeds United and Everton – who are all positioned below them in the table – will be viewed as an ideal opportunity to build momentum and pick up valuable points before successive games against Manchester City and Manchester United in November.

Scoring goals on home soil has not been an issue for Silva’s side, as they have already netted 10 times in five games at Craven Cottage so far this season, one more than they managed in their previous top-flight campaign in 2020-21.

However, the Cottagers were unable to find the net in their last home meeting against Villa, losing 3-0 in September 2020, and they will be aware of the threat that the visitors could pose on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard is the latest Premier League manager who is believed to be on the cusp of losing his job, but despite reports claiming that Aston Villa have decided to sack the 42-year-old, the West Midlands club are set to keep their current boss in charge for the time being.

Villa, who suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea last time out, have won only two of their opening 10 league games this season and they are languishing in 16th place in the table, just one point above the relegation zone.

Gerrard is sure to be judged on upcoming games against Fulham, Brentford and Newcastle United, and if they fail to claim valuable points from this run, then that could put the final nail in the coffin for the former Liverpool midfielder.

Villa’s lack of a cutting edge in the final third has been a major factor behind their dip in form; only goal-shy Wolverhampton Wanderers (3.5%) have a lower shot conversion rate in the Premier League this season than Aston Villa (6%), who have scored just seven goals from 116 attempts.

However, Villa came out on top in both home and away fixtures against Fulham two seasons ago, winning by an aggregate score of 6-1, and they will be hoping for more joy in the capital on Thursday against the Cottagers, who have conceded in nine of their 10 league fixtures so far this term.

Fulham Premier League form:

Aston Villa Premier League form:

We say: Fulham 2-1 Aston Villa
While there is an element of pressure on both teams to win considering their recent dips in form, Gerrard and co will be aware that a defeat on Thursday could see them slip into the bottom three if other results were to go against them.

Fulham have impressed on home soil so far this term and with Mitrovic back fit and firing, we can see the hosts coming away with maximum points.

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