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Fulham vs Aston Villa: preview, team news, how to watch and prediction

Fulham will welcome Aston Villa at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Here is a match preview for the game.

Fulham will welcome Aston Villa at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

After gaining the promotion, the Cottagers enjoyed a promising campaign last term but following the departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic, they have found it difficult to replicate the same performance this season.

Marco Silva’s side are currently in mid-table with 29 points from 24 games. They will be hoping to climb up the table by defeating Aston Villa in this encounter.

They were winless in six consecutive encounters in all competitions but having defeated Bournemouth in the last game, the West London club will feel confident ahead of this fixture.

However, the Villans have enjoyed a promising campaign so far this season, sitting fifth in the table with 46 points from 24 games. They are currently only one point behind the fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur so they are firmly in the race to finish in the top-four and qualify for the Champions League.

Unai Emery’s side will be coming into this game off the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Manchester United. They displayed an excellent performance versus the record Premier League champions and created a lot of chances but the lack of cutting edge in front of the goal forced them to come away empty-handed in that fixture.

So, Aston Villa will be desperate to win the game on Saturday to return to winning ways and stay on the right track to qualify for the Champions League. Finishing fifth in the table could secure their place in Europe’s elite club competition next term.

Previous meetings

Aston Villa defeated the Cottagers 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Villa Park. However, the Villans endured a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Craven Cottage when these two sides last met in this ground in the Premier League last term.

How to watch

The game will kick off at 3 PM UK time and the match won’t be televised live in the UK due to the blackout rule.

Supporters can purchase Fulham tickets from the club websites and trusted resellers if they want to attend the game in person.

Team news

The latest football talk suggests that Fulham won’t get the service of Raul Jimenez in this fixture as he is set to remain sidelined owing to an injury problem. Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey were unavailable for selection over the last few weeks as they were on international duty with Nigeria in AFCON but the competition is now over. So, it is going to be interesting to see whether the duo will return in this fixture.

As for Villa, they have suffered a huge blow ahead of this fixture as Boubacar Kamara has sustained a serious knee issue and as a result, he has been ruled out for the rest of this season. So, he has now joined Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendía on the long-term absentees list. In addition, Jhon Duran and Ezri Konsa are also set to remain sidelined for this fixture due to their respective problems.

Predicted line-up

Silva is expected to field his team in a 4-2-3-1 system this weekend. Bernd Leno will be in goal for the hosts with Issa Diop and Tim Ream likely to be the centre-back pairing. Timothy Castagne could start in the right-back position, while Antonee Robinson might be on the opposite side.

Joao Palhinha could commence alongside Tom Cairney in the engine room, pushing Andreas Pereira into the attacking midfield position. Willian and Bobby Decordova-Reid should be on the flanks for Fulham with Rodrigo Muniz expected to lead the line.

Expected Fulham line-up vs Aston Villa

Leno; Castagne, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Cairney; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian; Muniz

As for Villa, Emery is set to continue with his preferred 4-4-2 formation with Emiliano Martínez guaranteed to start in goal. Diego Carlos should start in defence and the former Sevilla star might be paired up with Pau Torres, leaving Clement Lenglet on the bench. Matty Cash is expected to be in the right-back position, while Alex Moreno might be on the opposite side.

Douglas Luiz could start alongside John McGinn in the engine room with Jacob Ramsey and Leon Bailey likely to be on the flanks. Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby are expected to lead the line for the visitors.

Expected Aston Villa line-up vs Fulham

Martinez; Cash, Carlos, Torres, Moreno; Bailey, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey; Watkins, Diaby

Key players

Jimenez was signed to fill the void of Mitrovic, but the Mexican won’t be able to play this weekend. So, the responsibility will be on Muniz to lead the line, he guided his team to victory by scoring twice in the last game and he will be hoping to replicate the same performance this weekend as well.

Willian has displayed promising performances this season and the winger could turn out to be a nuisance for the Villa backline. So, they will have to keep a close eye on the South American to come away with all three points from this fixture.

Palhinha is the destroyer for Fulham and Villa likes to play positional football. So, the Portuguese will be a key player for Silva’s side to disrupt the opposition’s rhythm. If he can perform at his best in this encounter then Fulham’s chance of winning will increase.

As for Villa, Watkins is their talisman and he has been enjoying a stellar campaign this term, scoring 11 goals and registering 10 assists in the Premier League. So, the visitors will be hoping that the Englishman will be able to help his side win this game by putting his name on the score-sheet.

Bailey has also been in excellent form this season so the hosts will have to find a way to stop the Jamaican from playing his best to come away with a positive result from this fixture.

Diaby is also an extremely talented player and if he can showcase his best then the visitors are likely to come away with all three points from the Craven Cottage.


Fulham have accumulated most of their points at home this season so it won’t be an easy assignment for Aston Villa – who haven’t had a great time away from home.

So, it is likely to be a close encounter but Villa wouldn’t want to drop points in back-to-back games, especially after accumulating only four points from as many league games in recent times.

They are currently only five points behind Man Utd and if Villa fail to win their game then the Red Devils will have a glorious advantage to close the gap with the Midlands club.

Aston Villa wouldn’t want to allow that so they will be desperate to come away with all three points from this fixture. If they can replicate the same performance as they performed last weekend then they could win the game on Saturday. However, it is going to be interesting to see how the game eventually unfolds. Fulham 2-3 Aston Villa

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