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Struggling Aston Villa head to Fulham desperately in need of victory
Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Fulham, London, Craven CottageBet Now
Aston Villa continue to fall on hard times right now, with serious questions continuing to fly in the direction of manager Steven Gerrard.
The club has just one win from its last eight in the league, with two from 10 in total this season. It’s a desperately poor return for a club that has spent money and placed its faith in Gerrard.
They could realistically fall into the bottom three after this round of fixtures, depending on how other teams around them get on. If they do, it may force the club’s owners into a decision surrounding the manager.
Fulham are sitting a little prettier, and certainly higher up the table than their opponents here. It’s been a while since their last victory, put a point against Bournemouth keeps them in 12th currently.
With their star striker back from injury, and scoring in that game at the weekend, it means that they will always be a threat going forward.
Reasons to be cheerful:
To have Mitrovic fit and firing again is a big positive
Score more goals than their league position suggests
Reasons to be fearful:
Lost their most recent meeting with Villa
Villa’s need for victory is desperate
Fulham would have hoped for a better result against Bournemouth at the weekend, having to settle for a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.
However, considering that they were behind twice in the game, it was an important point to take against a team that were promoted at the same time.
On a negative note, it means that Fulham have conceded at least two goals in their past five fixtures. There are now only three teams in the league that have let in more than the Cottagers this season.
Positively, Marco Silva’s men are also scoring for fun, having netted 16 goals to Villa’s seven so far this campaign. The Cottagers have only failed to score in one of their 10 games.
Against Villa, they must respect the fact that their opponents are more desperate for victory than they are. If they allow Villa to come into the game and build up confidence, they could quite easily lose this.
Star Man – Aleksandar Mitrovic
Despite missing a couple of games through injury, Mitrovic’s goal return has been fantastic so far this season. The Serb has seven goals from nine appearances so far, scoring every 108 minutes.
Reasons to be cheerful
Have won their last two games against Fulham
A more winnable set of fixtures coming up
Reasons to be fearful
One win from last eight is unacceptable for most fans
Only Wolves have scored fewer goals this season
As Fulham were promoted to the Premier League last season, Aston Villa could be in danger of taking their place in the relegation battle if things continue as they have been for the club.
It is not the season that Steven Gerrard and the club’s owners would have expected by a long stretch. With Gerrard coming into the club last season, it was expected that they would push on for higher places.
That hasn’t happened and you could argue that they have gone backwards.
While their defence has been relatively tidy, going forward has been a struggle. With seven goals from 10 games, only Wolves have scored fewer.
The manager seems incapable of getting his array of attacking players into a system that suits them, the complete opposite of Fulham right now.
Star Man – Leon Bailey
Despite losing 2-0 to Chelsea, Villa have multiple chances to score in the first half. Bailey came closest when his header hit the bar and he was a threat down the wing for much of the game.
Will be an even contest
Both teams should score
A draw the most likely result
You feel that Aston Villa need to win their next two games, including their next fixture at home to Brentford, to start to turn their season around and lift the pressure on their shoulders.
Unfortunately, neither the confidence nor the goalscoring qualities have been there in recent times.
Fulham are a well organised team that knows exactly how it wants to play. Although they concede more than Villa, they also score more too.
It’s likely to be a tight game, which is why this one could end up as a draw.
Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa
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