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Match Preview: Aston Villa v Fulham - Can Unai Emery’s men get back to winning ways in the Premier League?

Fulham make the trip to Villa Park on Sunday, with Aston Villa aiming to maintain the gap between themselves in fifth spot and the teams below them. Here is everything you need to know prior to kick-off!

Aston Villa Press Conference Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

The Build-Up

It is back-to-back home games for the Villa as we witnessed a 2-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar at home on Thursday evening in our fourth Europe Conference League group-stage fixture. Goals from Diego Carlos and Ollie Watkins, who earned another England call-up in the week, helped seal all three points.

In addition to this, an in-form Douglas Luiz received news in the week that he is in the latest Brazil squad for their upcoming fixtures, which is thoroughly deserved.

Hopefully both players can play a big part in securing another win at home in the Premier League when Aston Villa face Fulham.

It is safe to say that Unai Emery and his men will be wanting to put on a strong performance for the fans after a surprising 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest last time out.

Emery was informed in his pre-match interview that he has earned more points than Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta since he took charge at Villa, to which he replied, “I want to win on Sunday, I want to win on Sunday, I want to win on Sunday, no more.”

Elite mentality, as always, on display from Unai.

Aston Villa Press Conference
Unai Emery will be looking to continue Villa’s impressive home form on Sunday and get back to winning ways in the Premier League following last weekend’s loss to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Unai also spoke about Sunday’s opponents, “Fulham, I respect a lot. The history of Fulham. The players of Fulham. And the coach, the coach is a very good coach, experienced coach, very organised team, very competitive team”.

Fulham’s defeats so far in the Premier League have come against Brentford, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United; all being incredibly tough fixtures.

Last week, they were left devastated as Bruno Fernandes broke Fulham hearts with a 90+1 minute winner. They have also held last year’s runner-up, Arsenal, to a 2-2 draw at the Emirates earlier on in the season.

Both sides earned a win over each other last season as the Craven Cottage fixture saw Villa lose 3-0 in what was to be Steven Gerrard’s final game in charge of the club.

Who scored for Fulham in that tie? Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian striker is no longer at the club after a summer move to Saudi Pro League club, Al Hilal. He was Fulham’s main goal threat and since his transfer overseas, the London club have struggled for goals.

Scoring nine goals so far this season, only a Burnley side who sit 19th have scored less (8).

They have multiple striker options including Raul Jimenez, Vinicius and Rodrigo Muniz, however, between the three of them only one goal has been scored. This came from Vinicius in a 1-0 victory over Luton Town.

The midfield contest will be one to keep an eye on throughout this game as Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara will come up against a solid Joao Palhinha, who has made the most tackles in the Premier League this season with 50. That is 13 more than any other player, with former Villan, Marvelous Nakamba, in second place with 37.

Fulham FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Palhinha, who was heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich in the summer, has proven to be Fulham’s talisman in the midfield since joining the team in July of 2022.
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Villa will be hoping they can make it 13 consecutive Premier League wins at Villa Park come Sunday evening.

Team News

Emery updated the fans with team news in his pre-match interview saying that it will be “difficult” for Diego Carlos to make the squad for Sunday’s game due to a potential “small injury” that he picked up against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night.

The Spaniard also offered an update on Jacob Ramsey, “Ramsey is progressing very well, he’s close to being with us in the training session everyday, but not yet.”

Alex Moreno is progressing “very good” and is available to be in the squad.

Aston Villa Training and Press Conference
Alex Moreno has a chance to get some minutes under his belt against Fulham on Sunday, which will be music to Villa fans’ ears heading into a busy December fixture list.
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Emiliano Buendia and Tyrone Mings remain long-term absentees.

There are no other injury concerns for Villa.

When it comes to the visitors, Rodrigo Muniz faces several weeks out for Fulham. This is due to a knee injury that he picked up against Manchester United last weekend.

Tosin Adarabioyo, Kenny Tete and Adama Traore could return to the matchday squad, but are unlikely to start (via BBC Sport).

Likely Lineups

Aston Villa (4-2-2-2)

Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Pau, Digne; Kamara, Douglas Luiz; McGinn, Zaniolo; Diaby, Watkins

Fulham (4-2-3-1)

Leno; Castagne, Bassey, Ream, Robinson; Iwobi, Palhinha; Wilson, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez

Score Prediction

Fulham’s clear lack of goal threat will cost them in this one. However, it does have to be mentioned that Villa at times have been a bit shaky with that high back line. The goal that Emery’s men conceded against AZ on Thursday was far too easy, so that could be something that Marco Silva looks to exploit. As things stand, Villa have the chance to move up to fourth with a win on Sunday and a Liverpool loss against Brentford. It is Fulham’s turn to enter the Lion’s den!

Prediction: Aston Villa 3 Fulham 0