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Questions for Steve Bruce ahead of Fulham

Warren Little/Getty Images

After securing Aston Villa's first away win since the opening day of last season against Reading, Steve Bruce can take his team to Villa Park full of confidence. But there are still plenty of questions to resolve early. Here's a few of the most pressing ahead of the Fulham match:

Which formation?

In his first match Bruce went for the trusty 4-4-2 (see our tactical analysis of the formation here), first playing Jonathan Kodjia and Ross McCormack up front against Wolves. Against Reading he used Gestede up front, with Kodjia operating out to his left.

However the formation hasn't settled - Jack Grealish was in for the Wolves match on the left wing, then banned for the Reading match, leading to Leandro Bacuna coming in to a middle trio as an eternal sticking plaster. The defensive central midfield pairing still hasn't been decided, with Mile Jedinak, Gary Gardner, Aaron Tshibola and Ashley Westwood all appearing over the 180 minutes. And up front it was Jordan Ayew coming on as a sub which led to the breakthrough penalty at Reading..

It's hard to feel that the formations so far have given Villa enough control of matches - Reading had over 70% of possession - or leading to a clear best line-up. A switch to the 3-5-2 which Bruce used at Hull may make sense, allowing for two strikers and space for Ayew, along with more central midfield control.

What to do with Aly Cissokho?

One problem a switch to a 3-5-2 could solve is Aly Cissokho, who has now given away two penalties in two games. The obvious switch would be to bring in Jordan Amavi but the young Frenchman is still an unreliable, if exciting, talent. A 3-5-2 featuring Nathan Baker alongside Tommy Elphick and James Chester offers an alternative.

Villa's weakness in the full-back area extends to the other side of the pitch as well, where Micah Richards and Alan Hutton have both been pressed back into service after Ritchie De Laet's long-term injury. Bruce may consider asking Tony Xia for some January pocket money to shore up his options on both sides.

Getting the team to play for 90 minutes

The win at Reading was most noticeable for the way it was Villa which managed to sneak a late goal, having suffered a string of losses due to last minute goals under Roberto Di Matteo. Bruce suggested early after taking over that Villa's fitness was an issue and this may be a sign of progress.

However even if Villa's performance in the dying moments of the match has improved, there's a long way to go before the team looks comfortable over a whole 90 minutes. Presuming that reaching the play-off spots is now the overriding aim, the team needs to learn how to make wins looks easy and take the tension out of the game early. Villa Park against Fulham, with a core of support still elated from the Reading win, could be the perfect platform.

(Article edited to reflect Villa's formation against Reading better)