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Villama Preview: Aston Villa v Fulham

Following a post-Newcastle hangover against Brentford, Aston Villa regroup to take on Fulham. Still unbeaten over the last nine, will Villa make their tenth match without a loss worth three points?

The build-up...

It feels like it should have been another three points against Brentford, but fate conspired against Aston Villa in the form of a stomach bug and a 1-1 draw.

Moving on to this week, Aston Villa and Emi Martinez, hopefully over his stomach bug by Tuesday, welcome ninth in the table Fulham to Birmingham. Over their last three, the Cottagers are 2-1, with wins over Leeds United at Craven Cottage (2-1), Everton at Goodison Park (3-1), and a 1-0 loss at Craven Cottage to West Ham United.

Players to look out for include Joao Palhinha in midfield, Willian in attacking midfield, and Andreas Pereira at the ten.

Last time we met at Villa Park...

The 2020/2021 Premier League season was certainly a strange one for many reasons and Villa’s vast improvement from the previous season was one of the bigger surprises. A confident Villa fell behind in the 61st minute following Aleksander Mitrovic’s opener, but the Cottagers couldn’t hold on as a brace from Trezeguet and an extra insurance marker from Ollie Watkins gave Dean Smith’s men all three points at Villa Park.

The line-up...

Barring any players sitting for rest given the tightly packed schedule, the starting roster should remain as it was for Brentford.

With any luck, Emi Martinez will start in goal, with Alex Moreno at left-back and Ashley Young on the right. The center-back partnership will remain Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa. In midfield, Douglas Luiz and Leander Dendoncker will feature as the holding midfielders, with Jacob Ramsey further up on the left and John McGinn on the right. Ollie Watkins will feature as the lone striker, with Emi Buendia playing the ten.

If Emi Martinez is held out with the aforementioned stomach bug, expect Robin Olsen to start.

Score prediction...

The previous meeting between the two clubs ended with a 3-0 Fulham win, but that was in October of last year with a very different manager. Things have changed and changed drastically for the better. Villa are in contention for Europe and ahead of Fulham in the table, sixth to the Lillywhite’s ninth.

If Emi Martinez starts, I think it’s 2-0. And if he doesn’t, let’s say 3-2.

Up the Villa!

Brentford FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
Today’s match against Fulham is certainly an important one in terms of Aston Villa’s hopes for European football next season — can Emi Buendia make all the difference against the Cottagers at Villa Park?
Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images