Losing to Chelsea in the current environment wasn’t a shock, but remains frustrating nonetheless. Looking to rebound from that, the Villa travel to take on Fulham. The London side, 12th in the table, have lost two and drawn one of the past three. A 4-1 Craven Cottage loss to Newcastle United was followed up with a 3-1 loss to West Ham United at the London Stadium, and most recently a 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth. Players to look out for include Aleksandar Mitrovic at striker, midfielder Joao Palhinha, and defender Tim Ream.
For Villa, the presumption is to stick with what we watched against Chelsea. Emi Martinez mans the goal, with Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza partnering at center-back. Ashley Young will play on the left while Matty Cash plays on the right side. In midfield, Douglas Luiz anchors for John Mcginn and Jacob Ramsey. There could be continued tinkering with the forward positions, presuming Steven Gerrard sticks with the slightly less narrow 4-3-3, but I’d expect more of the same, with Ollie Watkins on the left, Leon Bailey on the right, and Danny Ings at striker.
What would I do in this scenario? As much as I like the 4-2-3-1, I also enjoy continuity and wouldn’t mind expanding on the 4-3-3. I’d consider starting Leander Dendoncker in the number six position to free up Douglas Luiz, move Dougie to the 8, and round things out with either McGinn or Ramsey. It’s a tough call and arguably not the most well thought out (Ramsey’s arguably in better form), but I’d stick with McGinn. Aside from that, everything else lines up with Gerrard’s presumed eleven.
: This is a game that would normally feel unremarkable, but the stakes will be high at Craven Cottage. If rumors prove true, Steven Gerrard has this week to prove himself or be shown the door. A hard fought 1-0 win could be in the cards for Villa.